Peace and Reconciliation in Sri Lanka: Is there a way forward?

Good Afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen and dear friends

I want to start my talk by bringing to the fore the experiences of another, which was seen as an intractable conflict – the apartheid struggle in South Africa.

In 1984, Mandela single handedly launched negotiations with the Afrikaner government. His reasons were simple and unambiguous.

There are many people who feel that it is useless and futile for us to continue talking peace and non-violence — against a government whose only reply is savage attacks on an unarmed and defenseless people. And I think the time has come for us to consider, in the light of our experiences at this day at home, whether the methods which we have applied so far are adequate.

He knew that for lasting peace he had to focus on what he had in common with those who were persecuting him.

Mandela said: We need to make peace with our enemies and not with our friends.

I strongly feel that this applies to all communities of people living in any country.

Are there any experiences that we can learn from this story of one of the world’s greatest moral leaders?

I think there is a lot to learn. Some of the major lessons that can be drawn out from the experiences of the South African struggle are:

Never let go of your dreams

Be courteous even to your enemies

Talk with those you are in strife with

You can negotiate with even the most intractable and difficult people

Don’t indulge in ‘them versus us’ thinking

I think this story also shows us the direction towards peace and national reconciliation in Sri Lanka.

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It is in this political light I wish to address the material realties facing the inhabitants of the island.

At the outset can I state that I am not addressing you as a Sinhalese, but as a fellow human being regardless of whether you are Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher or member of any other community.

The Current Context

On 19 May 2009, President of Sri Lanka claimed military victory over the LTTE.

Given this victory was achieved through a brutal military onslaught; it seemed to have engendered immediate hopes of an era of reconciliation.

Many overseas countries including the United States commended the military defeat of separatism and went onto praise the Sri Lankan government for moving towards peace and making efforts to rebuild the country.

Though 240,000 internally displaced people have been allowed to resettle, many of them are still struggling to seek out a living.

More than 60,000 of them are still held in detention camps behind barbed wire.

In the north and the east, the government is said to have placed heavy emphasis on the development of infrastructure.

It is good to develop the economic sustainability of the people, living there under difficult intricate circumstances, yet we are aware that there may well be other agendas driving this infrastructural push.

Reports coming out of the country do not reflect a genuine desire or commitment for reconciliation by the government and their supporters.

The focus of the ordinary people living in war ravaged areas seems to be on the need to address the problems of the thousands who have lost their lives and limbs in the course of the war and to help their families to cope with the disaster of separation and loss.

Provision of employment opportunities and development of their livelihood have become major issues affecting their day to day survival.

Peace and reconciliation

Sri Lankan society is fractured along many fault lines.

It is not surprising to hear about various manifestations of racism within the Sri Lankan social fabric, which I consider as expressions of social exclusion.

A policy based on social inclusion has to fulsomely deal with not only such manifestations of racism, but also with poverty.

To my mind, any analysis of peace and reconciliation should commence with an analysis of economic injustice.

The government states that it aims to provide the benefits of peace in the form of a dividend to all its citizens with economic development spread throughout the island.

However, the economic picture seems much bleaker than the government admits.

The latest report I read was about the recommencement of blanket registration of Tamils by Police in many parts of Colombo where a sizeable Tamil community lives.

These harsh and arbitrary measures, 14 months after the end of the war, have created a sense of insecurity and injustice.

It is a move away from any serious effort towards peace and reconciliation.

Social exclusion and social inclusion

The measures the government has adopted do not seem to include a policy calculus with a genuine desire to address the issues that led to the ongoing conflict.

Over the years, a system of government has been built in Sri Lanka in which there is no accountability and transparency.

Security considerations and military operations are given the highest priority curtailing individual and group rights of all people in Sri Lanka.

Social exclusion in Sri Lanka can be partly defined as the living experience of the Tamil community because of the comprehensive policy calculus implemented for shutting them out of the socio-economic, political and cultural systems of the mainstream society.

Such measures caused and will continue to cause economic, social, political and cultural disadvantage.

The National question

The failure of successive governments to address social exclusion brought about alienation of communities and resulted in military conflicts both in the south and the north.

Both Sinhala and Tamil youth passionately contested these issues and sought alternative ‘other’ responses and failed miserably more than once.

If these tragedies are not to be repeated then the scope of formal equality defined in the laws, the constitution, and the human rights codes in Sri Lanka must proclaim the equality of all citizens living in Sri Lanka.

Citizens should be equally entitled to certain rights typically associated with a democracy.

The war between the government and the LTTE brought about a whole new set of tragic issues of helplessness, death and destruction to life and property.

Nevertheless, the desire for a fair and just political solution and peace with justice for those who are socially excluded has not come to an end.

The whole society including the political parties, their leaderships, communities of people and their leaders are divided on the issue of a political solution to the national question.

The standard prescription has been to find a structure of power sharing through devolution and regional autonomy.

Power sharing will weaken both the social forces that favour internal subjugation as well as those favouring separation.

This can only succeed in an environment of a strong leadership committed to power sharing arrangements.

Such an environment requires the building of a culture that treats the other with dignity, respect and fairness.

The three decades long separatist armed conflict and five decades long and ongoing political conflict were based on social exclusion and discriminatory measures adopted against the Tamil community.

The government does not seem to be pursuing a path to develop its long-promised political settlement to this issue.

The government seems not interested even in acknowledging or implementing what is already incorporated within the country’s Constitution.

Though such measures may not provide the Tamil community with what they have been asking for, the 13th amendment, if fully implemented may represent a certain measure of regional devolution.

Since the recently concluded Presidential and parliamentary elections, the government and President do not seem to have any urgency to provide a commitment or leadership to implementing at least a measure of regional autonomy.

Nationalist claims

The current political conflict cannot be oversimplified to a simple linear equation between development and peace.

While the effects of the war such as death, destruction, injury, displacement and underdevelopment were mainly borne by the Tamil and Muslim communities living in the north and east, the Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims in the south were also affected by the war and the resultant economic hardships.

As there is no memory of peaceful co-existence within the post-1983 Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim generations, it is not surprising that they look upon each other with hostility.

In my view, their thoughts are fathomed not by any rational analysis, but by the omnipresent rhetoric of historical and deep-rooted ethnic and religious differences.

This rhetoric has made these relationships more and more hostile towards reconciliation.

The political elite of the island who have made use of and are still making use of those historical, deep rooted ethno-linguistic and religious differences to consolidate their economic, social and family privileges and interests has done extremely well in ruining the harmonious relations the society enjoyed before.

The failure of the socio-economic and cultural systems in Sri Lanka needs to be understood in this context.

On the one hand, despite the political attempts to resolve the conflict through peace talks and cease-fires on more than one occasion, I believe that certain sections of the security forces assisted by certain ultra-nationalist forces ruthlessly undermined such efforts.

On the other hand, the LTTE never intended to abandon their goal of a separate independent state comprising the north and east of the island.

The Sinhala majority population wanted to annihilate such an attempt at any cost.

Muslims claim that they are entitled to their traditional land in the east.

They claim that they were subjected to targeted violence and ethnic cleansing by the LTTE.

Most of the rural Sinhalese only came to know the conflict through the loss of life and injury of their kith and kin enlisted in the armed forces or killed or maimed as a result of bombings.

The relationships among the ordinary Muslim, Tamil and Sinhala people have been seriously damaged by the armed conflict.

During and after the election of President Rajapaksa’s government, the alienation amongst the diverse communities of people has reached a crescendo.

So the opposition to achieving reconciliation through power sharing also has reached a climax.

Yet, the Sinhala people including Sinhala Diaspora also stands divided not only by their political affiliations but also by the issues related to their religion, caste, gender, language, class and individual and collective experiences.

The Tamil people including Tamil Diaspora also seem to have deep fractures.

However, I am not here to talk about those divisions; except to note that after the military defeat of the LTTE, these fissures seem to have become more apparent and overt.

It is also evident that the majority of Tamils living in the north and east and the majority of Tamil Diaspora still seem to insist on a rights based approach to a fair, just and equitable treatment.

Recent reports indicate that death squads are still operating in the island.

Incidentally, the subjects of these death squads do not extend to the family, friends and fellow travelers of the ruling elite.

What a coincidence?

The country’s highest court discarded the vital role international human rights law and international human rights bodies played and need to play in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka.

The pledges the Sri Lanka government made to the United Nations are yet to be realized.

Yet, the UNHCR sees vast improvements in the island’s human rights situation.

Coincidently, the United Nation’s effort to investigate alleged war crimes by the parties to the conflict seems to have been sabotaged by the very government that the UN says, has improved its human rights record!

The international pressure exerted on the Sri Lankan political leadership through diplomatic and economic measures does not seem to have worked, mainly due to the military collaboration between the Sri Lankan government and a diversity of regimes ranging from capitalist to socialist and communist and also those in between.

The government’s economic partnership with regimes like China, Iran and Venezuela will reduce Sri Lanka’s economic dependence on Europe and the USA.

These are some of the features I can see in the local and global relationships relevant to Sri Lanka.

Is there a way forward?

The current socio-political and economic environment in the island does only provide an extremely narrow space to achieve peace and reconciliation among the communities of people, to develop a fair and just framework to address the national question.

This is because we have reached the lowest ebb in terms of relationship with each other.

Therefore, in the short term I cannot imagine achieving peace and reconciliation through the development of a framework based on fairness and justice.

This less than optimistic situation leads to certain pointers.

To achieve reconciliation, I strongly believe that we, the diaspora who are originally from Sri Lanka, may have a better chance and opportunity for mutual interaction; though even in that space, such interaction seems extremely limited.

Before the end of the military aspect of the conflict, the Diaspora was bogged down in extreme positions with no interaction or consultation with each other.

The Diaspora on its own need not try and impose a political agenda on the Tamil people living in Sri Lanka without genuinely consulting their wishes and expectations.

For decades, they have been kept down due to social exclusion practiced within and without, and also due to the armed conflict.

Nevertheless, as far as I am aware currently there is no such process afoot.

A principled human rights based approach could commence with arrangements to build a common movement to bring justice towards victims who have been subjected to a diversity of injustice and to redress the issues that led to three decades long armed conflict.

What I emphasize here is that trust building between the peoples need to start by making certain compromises that need to be worked out through political dialogue and negotiations with each other.

This raises the pertinent question: can such compromises be made under the current circumstances of human rights violations in the island?

As the short term objective of the ruling elite seems to be consolidation of their political power for safeguarding their economic, social and family interests and privileges, a principled or rights based approach to resolve the issues of Tamil people cannot be expected to materialize from the elite.

Furthermore, the current national and international political environment is not conducive for any armed opposition.

Yet, I believe that there is still space for non-violent political activities to build a strong and wide opposition movement.

For this to progress, engagement with diverse organizations that have been campaigning for protection of human and democratic rights of the people of Sri Lanka is necessary and essential.

Such organizations may include political parties and organizations, trade unions and non-governmental organizations.

If such political action does not materialize, rebuilding the fragmented social relationships in Sri Lanka will get much harder with each passing day.

For an agenda based on social inclusion to have an effect, we need to have space to discuss the many varieties of social oppression and exclusion prevalent in Sri Lanka and in the Diaspora.

There is no way we can move straight from a society based on social exclusion to a society based on social inclusion, because such a transition is not possible without a thorough social conversation and analysis.

Such a conversation and analysis require parallel efforts of critical examination of hierarchies of social oppression.

It also requires promotion of a program of transition to combine together the variety of unrelated and dissimilar movements that struggle against oppression, inequality and injustice.

Such social movements could be bound together by a kind of inclusion that would lead to the creation of a more just and equitable society.

For this to occur, consultative, participative, democratized, open consensus building is necessary.

Thus, a conversation on social inclusion can provide a coherent critical examination of the multiple forms of social and economic injustices and the concomitant institutional policy and program calculus.

So I believe the way forward for peace and reconciliation lies in exploring the potential for rebuilding inclusive relationships among the diversity of people through the existing and available dialogue and interaction mechanisms within communities both local and diasporic.

There should be attempts to expand such possibilities to create more space for dialogue and interaction.

However, such dialogue and interaction require a different and alternate understanding of socio-economic and cultural space, citizenship rights and necessary pre-conditions for social cohesion and inclusion.

This requires challenging the dominant Sinhala and Tamil discourse of social exclusion and stressing the politics of difference that needs to put issues of inequality and social and economic justice at the heart of the issue of social inclusion.

It is in this light I appeal to those who value democracy, freedom and liberty to actively show that they oppose the repressive political culture in Sri Lanka.

They need to exert pressure on the state to negotiate towards a meaningful and just power-sharing arrangement.

Sinhala and Tamil expatriates that helped perpetuate the conflict need to make a positive contribution to its resolution by engaging in dialogue within their community and with other communities.

They need to become drivers of this paradigm shift by creating a new reality through their interactions with each other.

This is not without historical precedent. It happened in South Africa and it can happen in Sri Lanka.

Thank you.

[Authors note: This was a speech delivered recently by me in Melbourne, Australia]

  • Ravi

    Too little too late, Where were you all these years when Tamil wrere being killed, displaced and driven out of the country. May be you were in honey moon with the government. The situation now is something , I thing, We can control becouse the elites are trying to copy the tigers and tamilnadu style of governance.

  • http://magerata.wordpress.com magerata

    Yes there is (are), There are many ways forward (it is also possible to go backward) but how do we find the right one?. How do we convey the message, so that Ravi does not feel the way he does. How do we appeal to him as well as to nationalists.?
    Only the dialog will bring us towards a solution that will benefit all. It will be a long time coming but Yes we can.

  • Sarath Fernando

    True, as Margerata says, we need to find the right path while also taking into consideration the reality and the need to neutralize the continued apprehensiveness of persons such as Ravi.

    We have had years and years of committees, discussions, conferences, papers, what-have-you to analyze and to find ways to address the Tamil grievances. It is high-time we tell the Tamils and the internationals our present thinking based on all those discussions how we propose to address those grievances and apprehensions to enable life for Ravi as a shared owner in this country, if we truthfully want the integrity and Sovereignty of this single nation maintained, as we claim.

    Getting to square-one one more time to start committees and discussions doesn’t convince any body, not even the Sinhalese, that there is genuine appreciation of the Tamil issue or that there is genuine will to find the “correct” path for resolution and reconciliation. Playing for more time will only push the nation back again to chaos, one way or another.

  • Sarath Fernando

    Dear Lionel,

    As you summarize the success in “attempts to expand such possibilities to create more space for dialogue and interaction (among the different local and Diasporic communities)” will indeed be the determinant of SL’s future – its prospects for domestic stability and prosperity as well as its international standing as a democracy.

    However, one needs to learn to walk before starting to run. What will be the best way to bring in harmony so that productive interaction and dialogue among the communities can be promoted?

    May I suggest that it is up to the Sinhala community, particularly, the Diasporic community, to help with the baby steps.

    If the two extreme opinionated groups among our Diaspora, namely, the rational Sinhalese who support fair justice, believe in the democratic rights of the Tamils and the need for autonomy, and the group in the other camp of patriotic Buddhist nationalists, as well as all those holding positions within this wide spectrum, could organize and convince each other via forums, debates, dialogues, interactions etc, and come to a unified, mutually acceptable reference points for reconciliation, may be then we could persuade the Tamil Diaspora to join in the dialogue and interaction with some tangible expectations and understanding. Else, your proposal for community wide dialogue and interaction may just end up being a pie-in-the-sky? If we can’t even come to a common understanding among our own disparate Diaspora, disparate on this issue, how could we anticipate to interact effectively or productively with the confused, angered, defeated and apprehensive Tamil Diaspora?

  • common man

    initially reconstruction of infrastructures in north n east is to be done! when it is done, job creation in those area comes first.
    then only those ppl will start to think about so called power sharing that is most needed by outsiders.
    seems govt knows it priorities so it has no rush! after power sharing.
    suppose federal status would be given to north n east, then will those who now living in uk/canada/aus come n start living here?
    any solution should be formulated to address grievances of those who living still there in north n east with all da hardship.
    more tourist hotels should be opened for aussi/canadian ppl who visit island occasionally n teach us how to change the constitution ;)

  • Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

    Chalk and cheese. Who in Sri Lanka in playing Mandela, which is the ANC, and who represents the minority apartheid regime? The ANC’s struggle was for ‘ majority rule’. The struggle ended in a negotiated transition. Sri Lanka’s was a full-on war. Better find ‘ best practices ‘ from elsewhere: Justice Weeramantry already started the ball rolling in the right direction.

  • http://www.colhariharan.org Col R Hariharn

    While these are lofty thoughts, no doubt. And wise words no one can dispute. But what is probable should be attempted first before going ahead with the possible. The present charged climate on the subject needs to be cooled first for any progress towards possible reconciliation.

    Basically it is in the interest of any government to build trust among all sections of population. Then only any attempt at reconciliation will be meaningful. That does not require any Mandela to be born. Democratic polity should be able to do it. So instead of playing politics on national issues, political parties should build a consensus on course of action to tackle them. Unfortunately it is not happening.

  • Ravi

    Common man, you carry on, no one will teach you anything, you can do whatever you want. Or build concensus.

  • justitia

    How about these steps:-
    a) Remove the emergency and related laws. Now the LTTE is decimated, and normal laws suffice.
    b) Implement the 13th and 17th amendments, and see how things are. If there are loopholes, discuss in parliament.
    c) Implement tamil and english as official and link languages.
    d) Allow all IDPs to return to their homes.
    e) Either prosecute all political prisoners soon, or let them go home.
    Anyone against?

  • common man

    Ravi>
    rule is simple!
    ie. discipline, development n then democracy

    u want last one first?!

  • vini gamage

    Never let go of your dreams
    Be courteous even to your enemies
    Talk with those you are in strife with
    You can negotiate with even the most intractable and difficult people
    Don’t indulge in ‘them versus us’ thinking

    Lionel Bopage, thank you.

    But we’re heading in the opposite direction:

    http://www.caffe.lk/NGOs_stung_by_sudden_new_restrictions-5-2214.html
    NGOs stung by sudden new restrictions, 18 July 2010: ”The government from the end of June 2010 has introduced new restrictions on movement to the Wanni by staff of UN agencies, NGOs and INGOs. …. Since the change, however, defence ministry authorization is required for each trip and staff member. Given the large number of trips and staff members involved, this would mean endless time-wasting at the ministry of defence for no explicit reason. ”

    http://transcurrents.com/tc/2010/06/vanni_northern_sri_lanka_where.html#more
    Vanni, northern Sri Lanka, where war has never ended, 1 June 2010:
    ”The area is still actually in the hands of the military, which allowed the return of the population but force them to live in absolute poverty. The military blocks any attempts to improve their lives, but does not stop abuse and violence.”

  • vini gamage

    So far Tamil parliamentarians(except those few who agreed to be taken by the army to the ”chosen” camps) haven’t seen allowed in to see the IDPs in the camps !!

    http://www.groundviews.org/2010/05/26/vanni-in-the-year-after-war-tears-of-despair-and-fear/
    Vanni in the year after war: Tears of despair and fear, Ruki, 26 May 2010:
    ‘’On most roads inside the Vanni, whether on the A9 or interior roads, I felt as if we were travelling within a military camp. Military camps and check posts were along all the roads. ….
    One of the initial sources of livelihood when people went back to villages in the Vanni were the small tea shops that they set up along the A9 road and other roads.
    But these were overshadowed by the bigger, better looking and better equipped “Janaavanhalas” (People’s restaurants) put up by the military. Each and every time I go along the A9 there appeared to be more military run restaurants than before. In the small Paranthan junction, there were around 10 such restaurants, run by various divisions, brigades of the military.”

    By the way, where is Prageeth Eknaligoda?

  • Burning_Issue

    Dear Col R Hariharn,

    I have read some your articles; it is good that you remain focused on Sri Lanka. As you know that the Tamils of Sri Lankan origin around the world appear disillusioned totally; the Transnational government is an emotionally-charged reaction rather than one based on pragmatism.

    What do you suggest that the Tamils should do given the current political climate in Sri Lanka coupled with international implications, the war crimes investigation?

    The TNA appear confused too; how should they position themselves in order to get what is best for the minorities?

    Most importantly, is the GOSL genuinely interested in finding a lasting solution for the crises?

  • davidson Panabokke

    http://www.groundviews.org/2010/05/07/jaffna-after-the-war-observations-by-a-visitor/
    Jaffna after the war: Observations by a visitor, Leela Issac, 7 May 2010:
    *”… A lot of building material (from China) has been unloaded on either side of the road between Murugandy and Mankulam. We stopped to ask one of the soldiers, whether there was a plan to build houses for the displaced. ‘No’ he said, it was China’s donation towards an army cantonment. The government plans to put up an army camp just like the one at Panagoda…. On the A9 road every hundred meters there is a bunker and every mile or so a major military base…”

    Promoting peace and reconciliation??

  • Sarath Fernando

    Dear Mr. Hariharan,

    It is strange that while rightly or wrongly characterizing the article/blog suggestions as “lofty thoughts”, you then follow it up summarizing your recommendation as “political parties should build a consensus on course of action to tackle them.” Do you not see the irony?

    It seems your suggestion is again to push the issue back to the situation for another round of meaningless “All Party” discussions and committees that will just buy time, but produce nothing in the end. I think, having vanquished the “undemocratic” enemy, the Sinhala population should first find consensus among them – among the nationalist politicians who see just a single Buddhist Sinhala nation and the liberals who see merits of regional autonomy and international integration. Perhaps if these two distinct majority segments could first find common grounds towards the future of the country and declare their vision jointly, perhaps then the rest of the groups (ethnic, political or otherwise) will have a better sense of what to expect and how to work towards national consensus. Expecting nationwide consensus while the two critical segments of the majority are unable to find common ground among themselves seems not merely lofty, but possibly worse.

  • DR Noel Nadesan

    Sri Lanka as a democracy, Survived through 30 years war and 2 insurrections before that.
    I have been 4 time since the war ends, met many people as I could in North, East and south. Our People are optimistic lot.
    It is true politician are not keeping up with the demand of people but that is all over the world.
    Intellectuals and many politicians, pondering negatives are not going to help anyone.. Sri Lanka, compare to any country after war certainly doing better .
    Please light the candle instead of cursing the darkness.

  • http://- Spiritual Man

    Reconciliation, to be meaningful and workable, should have the right mindset. It is the mind that determines the good and the evil, hatred and anger,war and peace, greed and selfishness..

    Reconciliation is not mere absence of war. The mind has to be changed to approach people with love and not with anger, hatred and bitterness. This is a spiritual truth.

    Forgiveness arises when the correct mindset of love enters any person. This spiritual condition is not being attempted. In South Africa it is the spirituality of people that made reconciliation possible and Nelson Mandela and Bishop Tutu gave the leadership.

    What SL faces is more of a spiritual decay. Right spirituality has to be restored. Reconciliation cannot come by law and legislation.

    Throw away the political leaders and put spirituality to be practiced before any attempt for meaningful reconcil,iation and peace..

  • wijayapala

    Dear Dr. Nadesan,

    Firstly I would like to say that I am a big fan of your novel Vannathikulam which I read in the English translation (I could not find a Tamil original). I would like to thank you for your efforts to bridge the gap between Sinhalese and Tamils. I also must apologize that we (Sinhalese) have not been as constructive as we could be.

    I would like to hear your views on war crimes investigations in SL. On the one hand it is argued that such an investigation is necessary because true reconciliation will be impossible without it (which I do not dispute). The counterargument is that our main focus should be rebuilding Tamil society in SL, making sure the people have access to food, water, and housing and that they will regain their livelihoods, and then taking steps to implement Tamil as an official language.

    Please share your views on this subject. Thank you.

  • Krish

    One must commend the way that Dr. Noel Nadesan and Mr. Wijayapala have posted in this thread. Having been an outside observer and reading all posts with great seriousness, I find the debates often times very polarized in this forum. Any little issue here becomes a Sinhala vs. Tamil problem. Thankfully, these 2 gentlemen have been very mature and hopefully all discussions continue that way.

    Coming back to peace and reconciliation in SL, I am optimistic that things will be better, much better in the future. Hopefully, both communities will come together in understanding one another than ever before now that LTTE is history. The problems however in near short-term would be how to make sure that people in NE get back with their lives, particularly their professions be it agriculture, fishing or anything. Also important would be getting the children back to schools and of course get all the IDPs settled back in their homes. But, all these would be tough tasks and need great effort. On the positive side, I saw the other day (in youtube I guess) videos of how child soldiers of LTTE are being rehabilitated. I am sure more and more folks are getting back to normal life (although in a distressed way), and it is better than what it was a year ago.

    The problem is, being the biggest victims of the war the people from NE, mostly Tamils, would be very skeptical and reluctant of how to move forward or what their options are. And I am not aware of any good leaders on the Tamil side who can provide hope for the Tamils in SL. I am skeptical about the intentions of folks like Col Karuna, Douglass Devananda and even Sampanthan, although Anandasangaree seems good to me. In any case, somehow the Tamils would need to put their past behind, reconcile and move on. It is important how to move forward positively and peacefully, while at the same time expressing your concerns appropriately. And, it is not clear what kind of President Rajapakse will end up being for Tamils. Hopefully, he will be pragmatic and engage in some meaningful inclusion or powersharing of some sort as to get Tamil folks along with Sinhalese.

    So, for things to get better it would take a few years. But hopefully, things would be for good for everyone.

  • Ravi

    Dr D J sounds good to me on this thread, thing can only get better in my opinion.

  • wijayapala

    Krish, thank you for your kind words.

    And I am not aware of any good leaders on the Tamil side who can provide hope for the Tamils in SL. I am skeptical about the intentions of folks like Col Karuna, Douglass Devananda and even Sampanthan, although Anandasangaree seems good to me.

    The good thing about democracy is that people usually get the leaders that they deserve. I was crushed when Anandasangaree lost the elections and further disappointed when the govt sidelined him in favor of KP to pursue reconstruction.

  • niranjan

    Coming back to peace and reconciliation in SL, I am optimistic that things will be better, much better in the future. Hopefully, both communities will come together in understanding one another than ever before now that LTTE is history. – It is good to be optimistic. However, I live in Sri Lanka and see a lot of Sinhala nationalism/ racism around. Too much of it. Therefore, I cannot see how both communities can come together. I feel the ethnic divide has worsened after the war.

  • Burning_Issue

    Niranjan,

    I always advocated that the GOSL should create right conditions for the communities to reconcile. Since you live in Sri Lanka, what aspects do you think that the GOSL can improve/introduce in order to achieve just that?

    I feel that the MR is in a quandary that, if he takes away the Sinhala Buddhist nationalism/chauvinism out of the equation, it is impossible to eradicate racism all together, then he is jeopardizing his political platform. I think that MR will keep alive the Sinhala Buddhist Triumphalism over the vanquished LTTE for their own survival. What do you think?

  • Huh

    Burning Issue,

    This is just a question, but do you feel that a good step to reconciliation would be for the GOSL to acknowledge that Sri Lankan Tamils are culturally and linguistically distinct from Tamil Nadu Tamils and are unique to Sri Lanka? I personally feel that this is a huge step towards peace. Unfortunately, most of my fellow Sinhalese people seem to have no idea about Sri Lankan Tamils being very different from Tamil Nadu Tamils. I have heard many Sinhalese people often remark how the Tamil spoken by Sri Lankan Tamils is no different from the Tamil spoken by Tamil Nadu tamils, and at the most, the age of the northern dialect is probably no more than 350 years old(no doubt, due to “scholars” like Nalin De Silva.)–which is funny to me, because many linguists say the Jaffna dialect is the oldest Tamil dialect in existence!!!

  • yapa

    Dear niranjan ;

    “I live in Sri Lanka and see a lot of Sinhala nationalism/ racism around. Too much of it.”

    Haven’t you ever come across Tamil nationalism/racism in this country? Then what are 50/50 demand, homeland demand and the acts of LTTE? Why did LTTE chased away Muslims and Sinhalese from North? Why did they kill thousands of civilians in South with suicide bombers? Why didn’t Tamils voice against them? Destruction of Anuradapura and Polonnaruwa kingdoms by Tamils in the past you think done in good faith to make this country a beautiful multi-ethnic rainbow?

    Do you think Sinhala nationalism/racism is the first cause?

    I never ever understand your kind of reasoning.

    Thanks!

  • wijayapala

    Hi Burning_Issue,

    I wrote to you on the APRC and moving away from democracy threads.

    Here is an article about Buddhist triumphalism in the East:

    http://www.nation.lk/2010/08/01/newsfe2.htm

    Sambodhi Viharaya, a Buddhist shrine situated close to Arugam Bay lagoon was flattened to the ground using bulldozers by a gang that descended on the place under Police protection. When the Security Task Force (STF) personnel in a camp situated near the temple had protested the destruction of the temple, Police had told them that the temple buildings were being demolished on a court order. However, further inquiries revealed that no such court order had been obtained by those responsible for demolishing the temple buildings. The Sambodhi Viharaya was located on a scenic spot between the Arugam Bay shoreline and the lagoon, an ideal location for a tourist hotel. The person behind the demolition of the Buddhist temple is a Colombo businessman, a son of a high ranking Police officer who is planning to put up a tourist hotel who received the prompt assistance of the local Police, informed local sources said.

  • Huh

    Dear Yapa,

    Most demonstrations of tamil nationalism exist abroad, not so much in Sri Lanka. And yes, Sinhalese nationalism/supremacy, IS the PRIMARY root cause of this war. You bring up the destruction of the polonnaruwa/anuradhupara kingdoms as if those were actions based on race, which they were not–these things were battles between kingdoms, they had nothing to do with race or ethnicity. I don’t understand why other Sinhalese people bring up the chola invasions, destruction of various kingdoms, etc., as examples of the enmity and ” long history” of the bad blood between Sinhalese and Tamils. This ” bad blood” is of relatively recent creation.

    The homeland demand was never really believed in by the tamil people until the mid-1970′s–before that, they were for federalism(althought various politicians may have jumped on the eelam bandwagon even before that). What has happened in the past 50 or so years is that the minorities have been brought down to size(read: made to feel like they are minorities due to their numbers). The practice of Sinhalese majoritarianism has done more to ruin the island of Sri Lanka than any ” Tamil homeland” claim.

  • Krish

    Niranjan – While I understand and comprehend what you are saying, chauvinism is present all over the world. I come from India and can assure you that virtually in every single state there is some form of chauvinism, regionalism and separatism. So, I am not surprised it is there in some parts of Srilanka as well. But, my point is this. After 30 longs years of war that is finally over, one has to look forward to peace although it is not going to be easy. Mutual suspicion and questioning the other side’s intentions are all going to be there, but things would gradually improve. That is what my optimism is all about. Alternatively, may I ask you what steps should the Government of Srilanka do to make minorities like Tamils safer in a post-LTTE situation? I am interested in your perspectives regarding this.

    Huh – How exactly are SL Tamils distinct culturally and linguistically different from Indian Tamils? The fundamental differences that I see are:
    1. They belong to different countries for about 60 years now. That is, Indian Tamils (Tamilians) are Indians, while SL Tamils belong to Sri lanka.
    2. There are subtle differences in the way the language is spoken between these 2 Tamil communities. For example, SL Tamils speak more pure Tamil than do their Indian counterparts. In India, languages mix at such an amazing speed that purity of most languages are lost, which is probably not the case with languages in SL (Sinhala or Tamil).
    May be, the Sinhala folks don’t comprehend these tiny differences, but I am not sure on what basis you say that these 2 Tamil groups are different, especially linguistically, when they speak the same language. I would like to see your response.

  • Huh

    Dear Krish,

    What you say…about these SL Tamils and TN Tamils being culturally very similar…may be true, if you are thinking only of northern tamils. But then, what about Eastern Tamils(more specifically, Batticaloa and downwards) or even the Negombo Tamils? These Tamils have cultural traditions that are from Kerala, not Tamil Nadu. Their language is, in some ways, very different from the Tamil spoken in Tamil Nadu, since many of the ” Tamil” immigrants to the East Coast were not from Tamil Nadu but Northern Kerala(read: malabar region. Although much of the population in the north has some kind of Kerala lineage, it is probably much moreso in the East). Many of their traditions and the traditions of the Tamil-speaking muslims in the area are more related to kerala rather than Tamil Nadu. Also, although this is probably not the most significant difference, the cuisine of Sri Lankan Tamils has more in common with Kerala and Sinhalese cuisine than Tamil Nadu, in some instances. You can read about this more in ” Crucible of Conflict” by Dennis McGilvray(its even on google books so you might be able to sneak a few pages in) or this article here:

    http://www.lankalibrary.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2121&start=0

  • Diffpersepective

    Dr. Nadesan

    “I have been 4 time since the war ends, met many people as I could in North, East and south. Our People are optimistic lot.
    It is true politician are not keeping up with the demand of people but that is all over the world.
    Intellectuals and many politicians, pondering negatives are not going to help anyone.. Sri Lanka, compare to any country after war certainly doing better .
    Please light the candle instead of cursing the darkness.” –

    My sentiments exactly and you hit the nail on the head!!! If i may – In addition to the optimism shown by our people.. (Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, Burger etc..) the vibrancy is palpable… and you are quite right when you say “intellectuals and politicians pondering negatives are not going to help any one”… Some people cannot see the wood for the trees…therefore they focus on the negatives and exclude the positives probably because it sits well with their own preconceived notions!!! Nevertheless, the country is moving forward… but lot more to be done…and our people are resilient … as my favorite Arabian proverb goes… “dogs may bark but the caravan moves on” this is an apt description for Sri Lanka today..

  • Burning_Issue

    Wijayapala,

    Thanks for reminding me about your posts. I traveled back to UK over the last weekend; I will be on vacation till end of August. However, I read your posts; some of the questions that you posed, it seems, involving the LTTE; were designed to provoke me somewhat!

    I have made it clear on numerous occasions that, I never supported the LTTE for what they were. However, once they killed off all their Tamil opponents and declared them as the sole representatives of the Tamils; it rendered those Tamils who supported for a united state solution in a big quandary. Such people, including me, wanted the LTTE to go, but at the same time feared for the security of the Tamils, if it had been vanquished completely. As it is now, the Tamils are at complete mercy of the Sinhala Buddhist Chauvinistic regime. If there is no international microscope on the country, the pace of subjugation would be alarming!

    I therefore think that, I am not the person whom you should ask to justify for LTTE’s actions! However, the point is that, the aspects that brought about the LTTE into prominence are still very much alive with vengeance.

    I support a Common Sri Lanka identity – feel that, projecting the Sinhala and Buddhism in the constitution make such a concept a casualty!

    I support a provincial based power devolution

    I support both the Sinhala and Tamil as national languages nation-wide making it easier for people to live anywhere they wish.

    I support promoting English as a medium for political debates eschewing ambiguity in common forums. This may be a difficult thing to achieve in the short-term but it is certainly possible in the long-term.

    I would like the GOSL to pass a law to make Racism as a criminal offence; it should also stipulate as to what aspects constitute racism. Political parties should be made legally accountable for its members actions on adverse race relations.

    Though I sympathize with the notion that no political party should be founded on ethnic basis, but do not support banning them. It is incumbent on the government to create conditions for peoples from all ethnic divides to rise above their ethnicity.

    I take your point about the Buddhist Vihara and the business man! However, just imagine, if the business man was a Tamil, what would have been the reactions? Would the STF just protest or would swing into action?

  • Burning_Issue

    Huh,

    I think that you raised a serious point; I do believe that, the Sri Lankan Tamils are culturally and linguistically somewhat different from their TN counterparts. To start with, the Sri Lankan Tamils are more mixed; we have Sinhala, Malayalie, Telungu, Vaddha etc blood making us somewhat distinct from the Tamils around the world. This distinction was well observed throughout the period since the Indian Tamils came to work in SL plantations. It was the Sinhala Only that brought the Tamils unite!

    What would happen, if the GOSL were “to acknowledge that Sri Lankan Tamils are culturally and linguistically distinct from Tamil Nadu Tamils and are unique to Sri Lanka” – I feel that, it would certainly put a wedge into the Tamil collective thinking. If it is carefully handled, it would bring the Sri Lankan Tamils closer to the Common Sri Lankan identity. If this is handled along with a right constitution, it would certainly have a very positive move towards the Sinhala/Tamil relations. However, the casualty would be the Indian origin Tamils who have been serving the country with their sweat for centuries!

  • yapa

    Dear Huh;

    I expected answers from niranjan to my queries, which were transpired from a comment made by him. You have acted on his behalf, however, have not answered main queries I raised. My primary objection to niranjan was his arbitrary branding of Sinhalese as the only root cause that prevents reconciliation process in this country being racists and chauvinists. With his god like power and authority he immunizes other communities in this country from all the sins. I questioned this prejudiced attitude. How can one conclude that Sinhalese are a pack of sinners while Tamils are a group of honorable saints? Such biased notions won’t help reconciliation but would arouse Sinhalease against it. Any reconciliation process should be based on reasonable and fair notions, not on popular and marketable ideas or on the whistle sounds from the gallery.

    You say

    “You bring up the destruction of the polonnaruwa/anuradhupara kingdoms as if those were actions based on race, which they were not–these things were battles between kingdoms, they had nothing to do with race or ethnicity.”

    They are battles between kingdoms?

    What kingdoms?

    You must have forgotten where the Chola kingdom was situated. It was in India. Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa kingdoms were destroyed by foreign invasions of Dravidians who came from India, there were no Dravidian kingdoms in Sri Lanka at that time. These are the myths planted by educated Tamils of this country in the innocent Tamil youths which paved to the present calamity of this country.

    However, as a responsible person I think niranjan would defend his position.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear Huh;

    You say

    “The practice of Sinhalese majoritarianism has done more to ruin the island of Sri Lanka than any ” Tamil homeland” claim.”

    I think you are trying to make people laugh!

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    I think niranjan’s intention is to become a white sheep in the herd, by painting other sheep in black.

    Thanks!

  • Huh

    Dear Yapa,

    I meant to say rulers, not kingdoms. you mention that there were no dravidian kingdoms in sri lanka when there were invasions. So what? Even with the invasions, there were no tensions recorded between the sinhalese people and the tamil people. There were plenty of Tamil Buddhists who fled from Tamil Nadu to come to Sri Lanka to practice and study Buddhism, at the risk of seeing their religion dying off in Tamil Nadu–they came as peaceful settlers to the island and there were not tensions between the these people. And WHY are the chola invasions relevant at all to the problem faced today? It is immaterial. You are right that it would be unfair to put ALL the blame on Sinhalese politicians and sinhalese majoritarianism, but the point is this has been the root cause of the war, not the LTTE.

  • Krish

    Huh – Your point is well-taken from the cuisine and the origins part. Yes, I have come across many folks from Eastern SL who speak a different flavour/accent of Tamil as compared to Indian Tamils. It is interesting that you raised the point about Kerala/Malabar origins of SL Tamils. From a pure linguistic standpoint, Malayalam and Tamil used to be one language about 1500 or even 1400 years ago, in both spoken and written form. But eventually, Malayalam slowly started to evolve as a differnt language, although it still is a mutually-comprehensible language of Tamil. That is, sometimes I see a Keralite and Tamilian speaking in their respective languages, while still comprehending what the other person says word for word. Coming back to Indian vs SL Tamils, while I can concede they are different culturally, I am unable understand the linguistic part of it. :)

    Burning_Issue – This is regarding your point on how SL Tamils are more mixed than their Indian counterparts. The mixing part is equally true about Indian Tamils as well. Only difference is, Indian Tamils have not mixed with Sinhalese or Veddahs, as they are living in India. Otherwise, many Indian Tamils are a mix of Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Marathi, Tulu and what not! Also, for about 100-150 years Tamil Nadu was ruled by Telugu kingdoms, followed by Marathi kingdoms and then came the British. And during those invasions high numbers of Telugu folks moved to TamilNadu and mixed with locals. And I am not even talking about the other groups like Konkanis, Gujarathis, Marwaris, Sindhis, Punjabis, UPites, Biharis, Bengalis etc residing and mixing with Tamilians in TN. Yes, I agree with some of your distinctions but mixing part, probably not. :)

  • wijayapala

    Dear Huh and Krish,

    I encourage this interest in Tamil culture, and I entirely agree that we Sinhalese are very ignorant on this topic. Probably the first thing we have to appreciate is that the Tamils have a lot more internal diversity than we do, partially but not entirely because there are more of them and they are spread across a wider area. Actually the diversity among Jaffna Tamils alone is comparable with the diversity of all Sinhalese islandwide! So the #1 mistake we make is assuming that all Tamils are the same.

    One thing I’ve found interesting is that SL Tamils generally do not know much about Tamil nadu, and vice versa (most Sinhalese would have a very hard understanding this, given the belief that TN is the “Tamil homeland”)! SL Tamils who go to TN usually spend most of their time in Madras where the language has a lot of Telugu and other influence, and then they assume that ALL Indian Tamils speak like that which is not true. The dialect spoken in southern Tamil Nadu around Madurai or Trichy can be considered “pure” Tamil (whatever that means) in that it hasn’t got mixed up too much with other languages.

    SL Tamil language is not precisely “older,” it simply developed in isolation much like how Theravada Buddhism developed in SL in relative isolation. It may be somewhat closer to the older language but like SL “Theravada” Buddhism it developed new traits never found in TN. There are some words and grammatical usages which date to imperial Chola or Pandya times, but there are other things the Sri Lankans have forgotten which the Indians have kept (like the “zh” sound which Tamilnet is trying to revive as Sri Lankans usually pronounce it like “l”).

    Dissecting “Sri Lankan” Tamil (meaning the dialects found in SL but not in India), we can make a basic distinction between Jaffna and Batticaloa Tamil. Both have certain pronunciation and usages which show a similarity to Malayalam (which evolved from the old western dialect of Tamil) or Coimbatore Tamil, where the ‘r’ is pronounced like ‘d’ or ‘t’ sometimes. Jaffna Tamil has a few similarities to the dialect in Thirnelveli and Ramnad in TN, but overall Batticaloa Tamil is closer to Indian Tamil than Jaffna Tamil is.

    McGilvray’s book has some interesting material but unfortunately he is not a historian and does not appear to be familiar with the wider history of SL and TN. The Mahavamsa for example claims that Kalinga Magha was not Tamil but by the appellation claims that he came from Telugu-speaking land. He was also a Virasaiva which matches McGilvray’s claims of Virasaiva sects in Eastern Province. Magha’s army came from Kerala and they ruled the East from Polonnaruwa, before being driven to Jaffna. As McGilvray pointed out, the Mukkuva warrior caste found in the East is also found in Kerala, although there is also a Mukkuva (Mukkulator) family of castes in southern Tamil Nadu which had a more feudal orientation like our Mukkuvas.

    Magha is important historically because he was arguably the founder of Tamil civilization in SL, even though he was not Tamil himself and did not found a dynasty. The Jaffna chronicles not only recognize this but equate him with our own Vijaya (which is a quite apt comparison, given that both had invaded SL from roughly the same part of India, although milennia apart, and Vijaya may not have been a historical person). Whereas the Mahavamsa describes Magha as a destroyer and Saiva fanatic, the Jaffna and Batticaloa chronicles bestow great honor upon him.

  • wijayapala

    Dear Yapa,

    You make good arguments about LTTE terrorism but then you ruin them by adding irrelevant history from ancient times and blaming the Tamil people instead of just the LTTE and its supporters:

    Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa kingdoms were destroyed by foreign invasions of Dravidians who came from India, there were no Dravidian kingdoms in Sri Lanka at that time.

    Polonnaruwa was created by the Cholas as their Sri Lankan capital, and contrary to what you claim it was not “destroyed” by “Dravidians” (if you vaguely mean S. Indians in a racialist way) but rather because the Polonnaruwa civilization was overly-centralized (unlike the Anuradhapura civilization) and therefore could not be reestablished even when the Dambadeniya kings retook the city. At least this is the argument made by Profs Paranavitana and Liyanagamage.

    The modern pro-devolutionists might be interested to hear that prior to Parakramabahu I, power was decentralized from Rajarata to Mayarata and Ruhuna, so whenever anybody conquered Anuradhapura there was a surviving administration somewhere else in the island that could be transplanted back to the north after the invasion was defeated. The Polonnaruwa kings did not follow this model and when they were driven to Dambadeniya by Magha, they had no backup administrative structure which was necessary to maintain the labor-intensive hydraulic civilization.

    Huh is correct that the invasions in ancient times were primarily between kingdoms and not ethnic groups. There were Sinhalese who fought against Dutugemunu and Tamils who fought for Vijayabahu to drive out the Cholas. I am sure the latter would appreciate how you had forgotten them.

    The LTTE cannot be compared to Cholas or Pandyas because unlike the latter the LTTE originated in Sri Lanka and all of the Tigers were born in SL (with some exceptions like Adele Balasingham). The LTTE was not an “invasion.” Also the Cholas or Pandyas did not murder anyone in the name of “Tamil homeland”; they simply were doing what Vijaya did centuries before.

  • yapa

    Dear Huh;

    I have nothing against peaceful Tamil settlers in Sri Lanka who came from India and settled down here. But it does not negate the fact that many Tamils came as invaders and engaged in acts of violence in this country. As a whole their behaviour have not been a peaceful one in this country. The damage done by them has been immense throughout the history. Non- violence has not been their mode of assimilation in this country. Still not. Demand and violence were preferred modes. Educated Tamils try to make theories to justify such behaviour. Really, Tamils have been enjoying the majority benefits of this country under colonial rulers and under the influence of huge Tamil population in Tamilnadu. This fact has been clearly visible by the the ethnic profile of the government jobs at the time we got our independence and the comparative educational benefits Tamils were enjoying in this country. This historical error should not be continued. Tamils must be prepared to get their due share, not less, not more.

    Still I am awaiting niranjan’s justification.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear Huh;

    You say;

    “So what? Even with the invasions, there were no tensions recorded between the sinhalese people and the tamil people.”

    In that case it must have been a enjoyable experience (invasion) for Sinhalese, to have their houses, temples, libraries,cultivations and kingdoms destroyed.

    Do you think so, Huh.

    Thanks!

  • wijayapala

    Dear Burning_Issue,

    I take your point about the Buddhist Vihara and the business man! However, just imagine, if the business man was a Tamil, what would have been the reactions? Would the STF just protest or would swing into action?

    If a Tamil had the right connections, he could get away with anything. Karuna murdered 600 policemen in 1990 and now he’s a Cabinet Minister. KP who was busily trying to rebuild the LTTE right up until he was caught is now an honored guest of the Rajapakshas and has been granted the task of reconstruction, over long-time anti-LTTE activists like Anandasangaree.

    As long as this sort of system exists, I’m afraid I can’t accept your surface prognosis of a “Sinhala Buddhist Chauvinistic regime.” The rot goes far deeper than that.

    Such people, including me, wanted the LTTE to go, but at the same time feared for the security of the Tamils, if it had been vanquished completely. As it is now, the Tamils are at complete mercy of the Sinhala Buddhist Chauvinistic regime. If there is no international microscope on the country, the pace of subjugation would be alarming!

    I suppose I cannot blame you too much; after all that is pretty much what many Sinhalese say about the Rajapakshas. You see Sinhalese and Tamils are very much alike!

  • Huh

    Dear Burning Issue and Wijayapala:

    Thanks! Wijyapala, you’re information is impressive. It’s funny how sooo many fellow Sinhalese people I know think that SL Tamils ally themselves with Tamil Nadu and are a threat to the ” Sinhalese” civilization. I really do think that there should be some kind of recognition–through the government–that SL Tamils are distinct from the Tamils of Tamil Nadu, in the same way that the French Canadians in Quebec are considered a distinct group from the French in France.

  • yapa

    Dear Wijayapala,

    I do not understand your argument that history is irrelevant in the present issue in Sri Lanka. I am not a person who believe present is a result of present itself and has no any relationship to past. I trust on the modern decision making tools such as trend analysis, extrapolation and interpolation etc. etc. and believe that present has a bearing on past and therefore I have no confidence on solutions made without taking the history into the account. Can you tell me the rationale behind your belief that the history should be forgotten in finding a solution to this issue? (I don’t think it is a stylish “self evident truth” as some people offer when they don’t have reasonable facts to offer but want to knock down the opposition.)

    I really believe that the colonialists and the people who got undue advantage/favours from them would like to forget the past. How do you reasonably ask who suffered from them to forget it? It is good for European Americans, Canadians and Australians to forget the past of those countries and offer the natives “equality”, but do you think it has done justice to natives? Do you think the profound principles of western democracy done them the justice? What we should try to do is not to satisfy a set of man made political principles but to seek justice.

    The mode of solution many Tamils expect in here has not changed much from their solution from the very inception. Their intentions in this country have been erosive to the aspirations of the Sinhalese people. Their mode of settlement here has been based on either force (invasion) or the persuasion/influence with the help of a stronger party. Dravidian invasions that brought mass destruction to the Sinhalese people throughout the history and the persuasions during the periods of Dutch and British in the history and the international pressure exerted on Sinhalese people aftermath of eelam war are examples. They do not expect things through negotiations with the Sinhalese people. Their friends always are outsiders like Dutch, British, Norwegians, Indians, South Africans and never Sinhalese. Can you sow me a few occasions Dravidians offered friendly relations to Sinhalese from the very inception their influence felt in Sri Lanka?

    They will have to change this hijacking attitude towards Sinhalese. They will have to stop pinpointing Sinhalese for each and every single wrong. Though some educated Sinhalese people may form some mild theories based on a few parameters of the issue to make a hasty peace solution, Sinhalese people sense the whole and their attitude is formed accordingly, not on the intellectual theories formed on a part of parameters by Sinhalese intellectual like you with good and innocent intentions.

    I like hard realities than soft cardboard houses. Despite all the good theories, Sinhalese people will not trust the Tamils until they start looking at Sinhalese with genuine intentions. Attitudes are not formed on great theories but on how people sense the particular situation. Tamils should give up wrong tactics and should settle for a negotiated settlement, with a win win situation, not with win defeat mentality.

    I think I tried to be honest.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear Wijayapala,

    I want to answer some of the misconceptions (in my view) you have stated in your post addressed to me. I understand your good intention to be nice to the Tamils who read the articles of this thread, but I think we can be more nice to them telling them the truth.

    1. It may be true that Polonnaruwa could not be re-established as the capital due to the overly-centralization. But Polonnaruwa was abandoned as the capital due to the invasion and the massive destruction by Kalikga Magha. You cannot refuse that fact. If you go and see the Palace of King Parakarmabahu, you still can see the melted clay and the roof tiles fallen down after it was set fire by Magha.

    Do you want to hand over the fault of abandoning of Polonnaruwa to lapses of Sinhalese administration, and give amnesty to Dravidians to be nice to Tamils?

    2. You say “Huh is correct that the invasions in ancient times were primarily between kingdoms and not ethnic groups”, but I don’t understand that “Undara Demalaya”. We should not make invasions mild by saying they are “between” kingdoms. These invasions are only by Dravidians (kingdoms) not by Sinhalese kingdoms. Your (and Huh’s) expression prevent differentiating the invader and the subject. Further, I don’t under how those two kingdoms do not explicitly represent two different ethnic groups and hence your conclusion “invasions are not “between” ethnic groups”.

    Such arguments are not familiar to me. (But I understand your good and innocent intention)

    3. You say “There were Sinhalese who fought against Dutugemunu and Tamils who fought for Vijayabahu to drive out the Cholas. I am sure the latter would appreciate how you had forgotten them.”

    There were Tamils who fought against LTTE and Sinhalese who supported the LTTE. That cannot be attributed to any good quality of those people and both parties might treat them as traitors as well, just as Tamils consider Karuna as a traitor and Sinhalese treat “Sinhala Tigers” as traitors.

    4. You say “The LTTE cannot be compared to Cholas or Pandyas because unlike the latter the LTTE originated in Sri Lanka and all of the Tigers were born in SL”

    In all other respects they are not different. I think that is the only difference.

    5. You say “Also the Cholas or Pandyas did not murder anyone in the name of “Tamil homeland”; they simply were doing what Vijaya did centuries before.”

    They might have used a different term for “Tamil homeland”, most probably a Tamil term, but I cannot understand how simply you equate Chola and Pandya invasions to what Wijaya did.

    I think it is a fundamental error in decision making process when you forget the differences while looking at the similarities. I think you really know the differences between them. If you really feel you don’t know please feel free to just mention it. I will explain them in detail.

    I like your being nice to Tamils, but it should not adversely affect others.

    Thanks!

  • Krish

    Dear Wijayapala – Thanks for your encouragement on my discussion with Huh, but I am not sure how much should the linguist differences hijack a thread on reconciliation in SL. Besides, this is a SL forum exclusively for Srilankan issues and I am from India. I guess I should limit myself. Few minor observations before that. The Tamil spoken in Madurai (not Trichy) is usually claimed to be pure, although there is no real logic attached to it. None of the spoken forms in Tamil Nadu is closer to written Tamil (Malayalam is just the same in written and spoken forms for example). You are also right about how SL Tamil developed in isolation and very brilliantly mentioned Telugu. When neighbouring Andhra Pradesh was formed as a separate homeland for Telugu speaking folks in 1956, one of their demands was Madras (Chennai) be a part of the new state due to Telugu majority in Madras at that time. That said, your knowledge of Tamil folks and language is just amazing. All that I can I know about Sinhala language is a few lines that I can speak that I can probably use if I ever visited SL. Needless to say, it would be great to visit your wonderful country for its beauty and wonderful people. Your tone of arguments in an inclusive manner, let alone your knowledge is very humbling.

    By the way, I am saddened to learn that the SL Govt. headed by Mahinda Rajapkase would go to bed with Karuna and KP, but not with anti-LTTE folks like Anandasangaree.

  • wijayapala

    Hi Yapa

    I understand your good intention to be nice to the Tamils who read the articles of this thread, but I think we can be more nice to them telling them the truth.

    I do not think that Belle or Prof Heshan would say I am “nice” to Tamils. Maybe even Burning_Issue would not say the same either. I have tried to be honest with them just as I’m being honest with you.

    They will have to change this hijacking attitude towards Sinhalese. They will have to stop pinpointing Sinhalese for each and every single wrong.

    Do you think it is ok for us to pinpoint Tamils for each and every single wrong?

    I think the difference between you and me is that I am not afraid of Tamils whereas you give the impression that you are frightened. I am not really bothered if Tamils talk rubbish about me or Sinhalese in general (although it is highly important to listen when they explain how they’ve suffered at the hands of Sinhalese). Whatever happened a gazillion years ago, Tamils today hardly pose any kind of threat to Sinhalese. So I criticize Sinhalese who have an irrational paranoid fear of Tamils.

    I do not understand your argument that history is irrelevant in the present issue in Sri Lanka.

    I am not saying that history in general is irrelevant; the history of the last 200 years and especially the last 60 years are highly relevant and must be explored thoroughly. My problem is with people trying to apply events that took place literally THOUSANDS of years ago to the present. Things are simply too different.

    Can you sow me a few occasions Dravidians offered friendly relations to Sinhalese from the very inception their influence felt in Sri Lanka?

    1) Vijaya and his 700 supporters receiving “Dravidian” wives from Madurai.

    2) King Gajabahu’s friendship with “Dravidian” King Senguttuvancheran.

    3) “Dravidian” merchants making donations to viharas in early Anuradhapura era as proven by inscriptions.

    4) “Dravidian” hamudurus Buddhaghosha and Dhammapala translating Sinhala commentaries into Pali, and “Dravidian” Kanchipuram serving as a center of Buddhism.

    5) First Sinhala grammar Sadat Sangarava was probably inspired by the “Dravidian” Buddhist text Viracoliyam.

    But Polonnaruwa was abandoned as the capital due to the invasion and the massive destruction by Kalikga Magha. You cannot refuse that fact. If you go and see the Palace of King Parakarmabahu, you still can see the melted clay and the roof tiles fallen down after it was set fire by Magha.

    You seem to have ignored my point that Polonnaruwa itself was built by the “Dravidians.” Should we blame them for destroying Polonnaruwa without giving them credit for building it in the first place?

    Do you want to hand over the fault of abandoning of Polonnaruwa to lapses of Sinhalese administration, and give amnesty to Dravidians to be nice to Tamils?

    It is not the simple abandoning of Polonnaruwa but the entire collapse of Rajarata that can be blamed on “Sinhalese” administration (more like the administration of the Polonnaruwa kings as the Anuradhapura kings ensured the survival of Rajarata for 15 centuries even after being defeated by invaders).

    Further, I don’t under how those two kingdoms do not explicitly represent two different ethnic groups and hence your conclusion “invasions are not “between” ethnic groups”.

    When the Cholas and Pandyans conquered SL, they did not wipe out the Sinhala population because their wars were not against the Sinhala people. That would have been an “ethnic” war similar to how the recent war was fought.

    The only Tamil king I could really compare to Prabakaran would probably be Sankili who also persecuted Tamil Catholics in Mannar.

    3. You say “There were Sinhalese who fought against Dutugemunu and Tamils who fought for Vijayabahu to drive out the Cholas. I am sure the latter would appreciate how you had forgotten them.”
    “There were Tamils who fought against LTTE and Sinhalese who supported the LTTE.’

    If there were pro-LTTE Sinhalese, then why are you blaming the Tamils for everything?

    I can’t think of a single Tamil ally of any of the ancient Sinhala kings who received the position after murdering 600 of the king’s supporters in cold blood. Can you?

    4. You say “The LTTE cannot be compared to Cholas or Pandyas because unlike the latter the LTTE originated in Sri Lanka and all of the Tigers were born in SL”
    “In all other respects they are not different. I think that is the only difference.

    Other than speaking the same language and using tiger as symbol, could you kindly explain using FACTS the similarities between ancient Cholas/Pandyas and the LTTE?

    Which Chola/Pandya king attacked Buddhist pilgrims at the Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura?

    5. You say “Also the Cholas or Pandyas did not murder anyone in the name of “Tamil homeland”; they simply were doing what Vijaya did centuries before.”
    “They might have used a different term for “Tamil homeland”, most probably a Tamil term, but I cannot understand how simply you equate Chola and Pandya invasions to what Wijaya did.

    I am not interested at all in what the Cholas/Pandyans might have done or the terms that they probably have used- our current discussion involves HISTORY *not speculation or fantasy-thinking.* (I too like hard realities than soft cardboard houses). If you have evidence that the Cholas or Pandyans were Tamil ethno-nationalists then you have to present it.

    I admit it is difficult to discuss Vijaya because he may not have been even a real person. However, he is somewhat comparable to “Dravidian” invaders because he literally INVADED SL and destroyed the preexisting Yakkha civilization, according to the Mahavamsa (although the Cholas/Pandyas obviously did not destroy Sinhala civilization). Sinhala folk/village tradition is actually much harder on Vijaya, basically labeling him a coward and genocidal murderer while depicting the Yakkhas as innocent victims.

    If you really insist that King Dutugemunu’s efforts are relevant for today, then please answer the following questions:

    1) How come Dutugemunu did not have the same jumbo Cabinet and countless “advisers” that King Mahinda has today.

    2) Whom among Dutugemunu’s 10 warriors could be best compared to Mervyn Silva or Duminda Silva.

    3) How were Sinhalese and Tamils able to communicate with each other back then when they cannot speak each other’s languages today.

    4) How come hamudurus back then did not become legislators the way that JHU does today.

    5) Who in Dutugemunu’s time held a fake hunger strike to tell the UN/intl community to get lost.

  • wijayapala

    Krish,

    I did not realize you are Indian. Welcome to this Sri Lankan forum.

    Thanks for your encouragement on my discussion with Huh, but I am not sure how much should the linguist differences hijack a thread on reconciliation in SL.

    It is relevant because the main barrier to reconciliation is ignorance. It is difficult for me to explain the ignorance in Sinhala minds because you are not Sinhala, and many non-Sinhalese make a major mistake in *assuming* that Sinhalese know what they know.

    One example of this ignorance is the lack of knowledge of Tamil language. As I hinted to yapa, there is some evidence that Sinhala people in precolonial times had more knowledge of Tamil language than modern Sinhalese who only know their own language. This lack of knowledge contributes to the false notion that all the Tamils are the same and they’re organized into a vast anti-Sinhala conspiracy. See to you this might seem utterly ridiculous (and it is) but this is how many Sinhala people think unfortunately.

    When neighbouring Andhra Pradesh was formed as a separate homeland for Telugu speaking folks in 1956, one of their demands was Madras (Chennai) be a part of the new state due to Telugu majority in Madras at that time.

    Yes, and the Andhraites were placated after they received Tirupati. Many of the great Tamil nationalists in India did not have Tamil origins. Even that clown V. Gopalasamy’s ancestry is from Andhra Pradesh (unfortunately for AP). I heard a rumor that Karunanidhi’s origins are also Telugu but his wife Dayalu Ammal’s name is definitely not Tamil.

    We have a similar phenomenon. Some of the worst anti-Tamil racists had Tamil or S. Indian origins.

    By the way, I am saddened to learn that the SL Govt. headed by Mahinda Rajapkase would go to bed with Karuna and KP, but not with anti-LTTE folks like Anandasangaree.

    Well you also have to consider that Anandasangaree won very few votes in the last election; the TNA got more votes than anyone else and the Rajapakshas have used the TNA’s pro-LTTE history as an excuse not to work with them. Mahinda is not genuinely angry with the TNA (otherwise he would have worked much closer with anti-TNA Sangaree) but it’s all a gimmick to do nothing.

    If Anandasangaree had won more votes, it may have been harder for the Rajapakshas to ignore him. I see Sangaree as the only leader who had a chance of bringing about Sinhala-Tamil reconciliation.

  • Burning_Issue

    Dear Vijayapala,

    “As long as this sort of system exists, I’m afraid I can’t accept your surface prognosis of a “Sinhala Buddhist Chauvinistic regime.” The rot goes far deeper than that.”

    I have read in one of the articles written by Dr. Dayan Jayatilleke, not sure whether it appeared might have been on these forums or I read it on Lanka Daily Mirror, where he was arguing that the likes of Douglas D and Karuna need to be well looked after as without their assistance it would have been harder to defeat the LTTE. Since KP is now assisting the MR regime countering the International Network of the LTTE, it is conceivable to conclude that he is being looked after! Yes, Karuna killed 600 policemen; counter justification that I hear from the Sinhala is that, he was just following orders. Since, he switched sides and has been helping the regime; he has managed to save far more deaths in the long-run. How do you counter this argument? So, my assessment about the Sinhala Buddhist Chauvinistic regime is unflustered.

    However, it is highly probable that, MR himself not a Chauvinists, but he knows that, maintaining his regime is very much dependent on nurturing the Sinhala Buddhist fear-psychosis thus he projects him as their survivor and he will keep the Demilas at their place! If my assessment is deemed as surface prognosis, I am afraid many academics, Sri Lankans and foreigners alike, have got it wrong!

  • Burning_Issue

    Dear Vijayapala,

    You said to Yapa:

    “I do not think that Belle or Prof Heshan would say I am “nice” to Tamils. Maybe even Burning_Issue would not say the same either. I have tried to be honest with them just as I’m being honest with you.”

    I tell you on record; you are the first Sinhala I have ever debated with, who places the Sri Lankan history in true perspective. I am not a historian but apply common sense when people talk about events that took place in many millennia ago. Unless, people support their historical claims with archaeological evidences to substantiate, there will be no basis for their claims. It is indisputable that one cannot put Timescale to the Tamil/Sinhala presence in Sri Lanka but not one group can claim exclusivity to section/s or to the whole country.

    My beef with you is on the point of the Constitution; I strongly believe that projecting Sinhala Buddhism on the Constitution has far reaching consequences and it seriously impediments the quest of fashioning a common Sri Lankan identity. You on the other hand argue that it does not; you seem to support a situation where the Sinhala Buddhists can be educated to treat the other as equal while maintaining the status-qua.

    Please tell me if the Sinhala are not Dravidians, who are they?

  • wijayapala

    Dear Burning_Issue

    However, it is highly probable that, MR himself not a Chauvinists, but he knows that, maintaining his regime is very much dependent on nurturing the Sinhala Buddhist fear-psychosis thus he projects him as their survivor and he will keep the Demilas at their place!

    Although I agree with the fear-psychosis part I don’t see how it’s specifically a “Sinhala Buddhist” fear-psychosis. And I don’t see how it will work in the long run when there aren’t anymore suicide bombings.

    If my assessment is deemed as surface prognosis, I am afraid many academics, Sri Lankans and foreigners alike, have got it wrong!

    The same academics who said that the LTTE could never be defeated?

    you seem to support a situation where the Sinhala Buddhists can be educated to treat the other as equal while maintaining the status-qua.

    Well I have to admit the possibility that we’re too stupid to be educated in this way, which in that case I don’t think changing the constitution would help anything. Stupidity can defeat even the best-designed system.

    Well for what it’s worth, I have absolutely no beef with you at all, and actually I feel privileged that I met you here.

    Please tell me if the Sinhala are not Dravidians, who are they?

    Ok first of all there’s a big problem with this term “Dravidian.” It is a language family not an ethnic or racial group. I can understand misguided Sinhalese using this term to describe non-Sinhala brown people but not you!

  • Krish

    Dear Wijayapala – Another array of amazingly informative posts from you. What impresses me the most is your neutrality and depth of knowledge. It is such a pleasure to read your posts.

    Coming to your points on knowledge of Sinhalese folks about Tamils in modern times, I guess that applies equally to Tamilians of India as well. For example, most people in Tamil Nadu still don’t have a good idea about Sinhala language or culture or Theravada Buddhism, let alone knowing who Veddahs are. So, this lack of knowledge is there everywhere. From Srilanka’s side, the war has contributed to a great extent for people from different regions getting along with one another. That proabaly contritutes to lack of understanding of other’s culture. Tomorrow, if TamilNadu and AP were to go to war with one another, people might be seggregated along linguistic lines I guess. On a related note, one prominently missing feature of India’s multi-lingual spectrum is sadly the absence of a language like Sinhala within its borders. You see India has a huge chunk of Bangla speaking folks, Urdu speaking Muslims, Nepalis in North/NE parts. With most of it’s neighbours India has got a common language except Srilanka. Hopefully, in the future Indians get to know more about Sinhala as a language and also the Theravada Buddhism as practised in SL more in depth.

    I also agree with your responses to yapa and Burning_Issue. They tend to look at it from one perspective, not from the other side. Such viewpoints are not bad by themselves, but don’t contribute much to a debate, especially for reconciliatory purposes and finding common grounds.

    About the origins of politicians from Tamil Nadu, yes, Vaiko (V. Gopalaswamy) has always been an open supporter of LTTE and is basically of Telugu origin. Ofcourse, there are politicians like Ramadoss, Thirumavalavan etc who are proper Tamilians who have openly supported LTTE. Karunanidhi is rumoured to be a Teluguite, although not sure about the proof. Well, MG Ramachandran was born in Kandy and was a Keralite. Jayalalitha has her roots in Karnataka state. So, a big chunk of politicians in TN are not Tamils themselves by origin. Ofcourse, in TN they also have this debate as to whether Brahmins are Aryans or Dravidians. And many such funny things. :)

    By the way, I always considered Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe to be the most liberal and centrist of all SL politicians. Is he that popular anymore? He seemed to be less polarizing of all SL leaders in recent times.

  • yapa

    Dear Burning_Issue;

    You say;

    “Please tell me if the Sinhala are not Dravidians, who are they?”

    You must have heard the story of the “King’s Clothe”., which is known among Sinhalese as “seethambara Pataya”. In that story all the wives, ministers and noble men of the king’s court appreciated the beauty and the all the good and fine qualities embedded in the king’s new cloth. But only a small child among the crowd was able to identify that really there was no clothe at all and the king was walking around among the people, naked.

    When people are used to serious things, usually they loss the sense of simple things. Sinhala folk has a saying for that, Pandithayata e-dande yanna berilu”. (please get this translated)

    Do you want to understand the difference between Sinhala and Tamils? There is a simple criterion even a simpleton can utilize. If you really cannot think of one, please tell me, I will let you know.

    Dear Burning_Issue, We should find solutions not by not rejecting hard realities, but by accepting them and making attempts to bridge them. Really there are two different ethnicity known as as Sinhalese and Tamils, it is a reality not a myth. Existence of differences are not a big obstacle in find solutions, but neglecting such realities is a big barrier. It is like ostriche’s rejecting the cyclone after hiding his head under sand. This very act might bring the end to the ostrich, if the intensity of the cyclone is high enough.

    Dear Burning_Issue, we must build our houses on hard realities, not on soft quick sand. We must bravely face realities.

    Thanks!

  • Burning_Issue

    Dear Yapa,

    “Do you want to understand the difference between Sinhala and Tamils? There is a simple criterion even a simpleton can utilize. If you really cannot think of one, please tell me, I will let you know.”

    Very interesting indeed! My question to Wijayapala was about Dravidian’s’ historic connotations in terms of how peoples of Sri Lanka evolved to its present stage; it is not just about simple differences that you refer to. When people speak a language as their mother language does not necessarily mean that they belong to a particular racial stock!

    “Dear Burning_Issue, we must build our houses on hard realities, not on soft quick sand. We must bravely face realities.”

    Sure; I am with you on this! Lets analysis as to what are the realities first. You will need to do this without being nice to me, a Tamil from Jaffna!

  • Burning_Issue

    Dear Wijayapala,

    “Although I agree with the fear-psychosis part I don’t see how it’s specifically a “Sinhala Buddhist” fear-psychosis. And I don’t see how it will work in the long run when there aren’t anymore suicide bombings.”

    I am afraid that it has been working ever since the independence; pandering to the Sinhala Buddhist nationalism has always worked. One marked deference that I see now is that, RW has not opted to pandering to that Phenomenon even after losing 4 elections and at being pressured to vacate his position. I hope that, it will instil a positive trend towards better politics in the future.

    “The same academics who said that the LTTE could never be defeated?”

    Do you think that, it would have been possible to defeat the LTTE by observing the International norms that the academics would have expected the GOSL to adhere to? It was only possible that GOSL conducted itself as if they were an unelected body unscrupulously prosecuting the war to its bitter conclusion. Certainly, the absence of the LTTE has created a golden opportunity to build a just nation; but the question is that, whether the human catastrophe is justifiable in the Sri Lankan context or in the Sinhala Buddhist hegemonic perspective; only time will tell as to how the things will pan out. If Sri Lanka is blessed with the likes of Wijayapalas, SomewhatDisgusted, Balangodaman, Offthecuff etc, the end will justify the means, but I doubt that Sri Lanka would emerge as a nation of Sri Lankans!

    “Well I have to admit the possibility that we’re too stupid to be educated in this way, which in that case I don’t think changing the constitution would help anything. Stupidity can defeat even the best-designed system.”

    A secular constitution would send a serious intend on the part of the GOSL that it is promoting a Common Sri Lankan Identity. This would be the thing that would galvanise all as true Sri Lankans; please make no mistake about it.

    It is a privilege to meet you too; hopefully, one day we will meet in person.

  • Belle

    Burning_Issue,
    “Do you think that, it would have been possible to defeat the LTTE by observing the International norms that the academics would have expected the GOSL to adhere to?”

    Super response!

  • Sarath Fernando

    Belle,

    Your conceding that International norms were exceeded to defeat the LTTE by it self is the critical point. The norms were set for a purpose – that civility, fairness and long-term prospects should not be undermined, even when confronted with the need to eliminate terror, evil or what-have-you.

    Thus, we need to asses if we actually threw the “baby with the bath water” – in getting rid of LTTE, has the country also lost it’s long cherished civility, the enviable democracy, and the fundamental protection of human rights, not only for the minority, but even for the majority.

    Do any of the following give you a hint as to which direction we are headed: 70% budget within a single family control; raw-newcomer off-spring has absolute control across-board, never mind the seniority and maturity of decades-long politicians; Government official gets tied to a tree in a punishment reflective of tribal or aboriginal practices; Defense Secretary orders Police as to who they can and cannot protect; the entire Western world that we looked up to has turned unequivocally critical of our behavior and we are choosing to bed with countries that we have shunned in the past for their lack of civility. These are just a few of the most recent developments. You have any concerns?

  • wijayapala

    Krish,

    By the way, I always considered Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe to be the most liberal and centrist of all SL politicians. Is he that popular anymore?

    Ranil is probably one of the worst SL leaders of all time (although the absolute worst was his uncle Pres. JR Jayawardene). SL is currently in a quasi-monarchy because there is no effective opposition. There is no effective opposition because Ranil is in charge and won’t let go. Nobody will ever support the UNP because Ranil is perceived as selling the country out to the LTTE.

    Ranil is hardly a liberal although he’s very good at giving that impression. He was in Uncle JR’s Cabinet in 1983 and probably played a role in the massacre of Tamils. In the 1990s he undermined Chandrika’s efforts to implement devolution twice. I never understood how the Tamils have been able to overlook these things.

    On a related note, one prominently missing feature of India’s multi-lingual spectrum is sadly the absence of a language like Sinhala within its borders.

    It is precisely this factor that is the core of Sinhala nationalism- that you cannot really find anything Sinhala outside of SL.

    I also agree with your responses to yapa and Burning_Issue. They tend to look at it from one perspective, not from the other side.

    Actually Burning_Issue is a great person to have a discussion with. He is a very good listener and above he demonstrated that he understands my views while disagreeing with them. What is so bad about that?

  • wijayapala

    Hi Burning Issue,

    I am afraid that it has been working ever since the independence; pandering to the Sinhala Buddhist nationalism has always worked.

    Not in 1994-5 when Chandrika was elected. Not in 2001 when Ranil was elected. In both cases the LTTE took advantage of them and discredited them. There should be no surprise that the people elected Mahinda.

    How did Tamil politics work since independence? Was it any different?

    One marked deference that I see now is that, RW has not opted to pandering to that Phenomenon even after losing 4 elections and at being pressured to vacate his position. I hope that, it will instil a positive trend towards better politics in the future.

    I hardly think so. Ranil’s refusal to step down despite being a perpetual loser means that there will be no effective opposition in SL. That means Mahinda will remain “King.”

    Do you think that, it would have been possible to defeat the LTTE by observing the International norms that the academics would have expected the GOSL to adhere to?

    As I recall, the academic types never came up with a single way of dealing with the LTTE to end the conflict. They had their golden opportunity from 2002 to 2004. What happened??

    Are you really surprised given how things turned out that the electorate rejected the “smart” academics in favor of the “idiot” Rajapakshas who finished the task that they could not???

    Earlier I said Sinhala mentality of supporting Rajapakshas isn’t very different from the Tamil mentality of supporting Prabakaran. Maybe one day we will rue the day that Mahinda was elected the way things turn out. But there is one important difference between Mahinda and Prabakaran: Mahinda delivered on his promise of killing Prabakaran and ending the war, while Prabakaran only got killed and accomplished NOTHING for the Tamils after such a long conflict. That is why I have little patience for talk that the LTTE was protecting the Tamils from Sinhala hegemony- obviously it failed completely!

    but the question is that, whether the human catastrophe is justifiable in the Sri Lankan context or in the Sinhala Buddhist hegemonic perspective; only time will tell as to how the things will pan out.

    I agree that it may be too early to tell, but the way I see it the human catastrophe was inevitable as long as the LTTE was around. It would have happened in May 2009 or 20 years later with Tamil society further ruined by continued war. If you disagree then please tell me what was the other way out.

    Over the last 25 years, Sinhala hegemonism was defeated not once but TWICE: in 1987 when the Indians halted Operation Liberation, and in 2002 when Ranil signed the CFA. So how/why did the war continue??

    A secular constitution would send a serious intend on the part of the GOSL that it is promoting a Common Sri Lankan Identity. This would be the thing that would galvanise all as true Sri Lankans

    What is a “true Sri Lankan?”

  • wijayapala

    Another thing Burning Issue, see how yapa responded to you but ignored me??? Clearly he has a much higher regard for your opinions than mine despite this Sinhala hegemony. So what are you complaining about.

  • Heshan

    “Do you think that, it would have been possible to defeat the LTTE by observing the International norms that the academics would have expected the GOSL to adhere to?”

    The norms you refer to are the Geneva Conventions, of which S. Lanka is a signatory. So one could argue that in breaching the norms, S. Lanka violated its own contractual obligations. However, there is a more subtle point. Could it be the case that S. Lanka was simply not militarily capable of taking on the LTTE, while simultaneously abiding by the GC? Ask yourself, why does NATO, for example, not arbitrarily attack and occupy hospitals and schools in Afghanistan? Keep in mind that Gothabaya is on record for saying even hospitals are valid targets, as per UTHR and other sources. In fact, when you compare the NATO invasion/occupation of Afghanistan with the SL war, the differences between a modernized army (e.g. European nations which have sent troops to NATO) and a relatively primitive one (Sri Lankan Army) abound. I don’t want to go into detail, but let me point out three major things: (I) Al-Qaeda/Taliban is a better financed, better trained, better equipped guerilla group than the LTTE, (II) the terrain of Afghanistan/Pakistan is much more complicated than that of SL, and (III) the geopolitics involved in the Afghan conflict are more complicated than that of the SL one. Despite all three of these e things, we find the following to also be true: NATO has suffered few casualties, NATO does not rely on draconian “emergency regulation/PTA” type laws to terrorize the population into submission (or else by randomly shelling them such as was common during the final phases of the SL war), NATO troops do not enjoy the privilege of judicial immunity, NATO does not try to cover-up/deny extrajudicial killings by its members but actually investigates them, and NATO is able to secure its bases with ease (remember the Elephant Pass, Kilinochi, and Mullaithivu debacles?).

    Let’s face it: SL is a poor country that simply threw all its resources into the war at the last minute and by sheer force extracted a favorable outcome. NATO forces, with their arsenal of far superior weapons, could do this too. But there is a methodology to modern warfare. I am no expert, but one of the rules must be to minimize casualties on your side. Now, for political expediency, it is also important to minimize civilian casualties on the opposing side. It can be statistically proved that most of the civilians who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan have been killed by Muslim militants. So you have to admit that the Western nations have done a fairly good job of sticking to the two rules I just mentioned. But all of this comes back to capability… the better the technology you have, the easier it is to train your soldiers and stick to the two rules. The USA destroyed Saddam’s army through the air….whereas in SL, whatever the local media may have told you/kept hidden from you, the SLA suffered heavy casualties right to the end.

  • Heshan

    *It can be statistically proven

  • yapa

    Dear wijayapala;

    “Another thing Burning Issue, see how yapa responded to you but ignored me??? Clearly he has a much higher regard for your opinions than mine despite this Sinhala hegemony. So what are you complaining about.”

    Frankly speaking I have nothing against Tamils in this country and I know most of the Tamil people I have met are gentlemen than I should say than most of the Sinhalese. They are more dedicated, hardworking and down to earth people. I like their ways and I have never hurt their feelings in personal. I like them rather I love them and they love me too. If they come know that these comments in the forum are of mine I think they will not believe their eyes.

    Really what I don’t like is not Tamils. I like them, I respect them and appreciate their contribution to this country too. But I cannot tolerate their extremist ideology formed recently with the view to break this country. I never tolerate it even with all the good qualities of the Tamils. Though I love them in personal basis, I hate them as a whole until they shed that destructive attitude.

    I am not inhuman. I love humans, but believe that others too should love humans and it should be bubbling love.

    Thanks!

  • Travelling Academic

    Dear Yapa,

    Good comment saying you have Tamil friends you love. There is honesty in your comment which I much respect.

    But have you ever wondered how these people whom you love, get along well with, hardworking gentlemen in your assessment, who also love you in return, got into their thick skulls this extremist ideology of separating the country? Sure, part of it is brain-washing, part of it is just criminal intent and a lot of it came from meddling foreing policy of the Indian government, but isn’t our post-independence political establishment also a wee bit guilty of offering fertile ground for the rise of this separatist call?

    If we loved these people, should we not find civilized ways — within our political process — of persuading them to change their views and be part of a united Sri Lanka in which everyone has a chance of being a good guy (with the exception perhaps of the chap who tied the government official to a tree)? Or should we opt for efficient ways of sending these Tamil gentlemen you love away from here — Heaven/Hell/Toronto/India?

  • Belle

    Yapa,
    You say that you find Tamils to be “gentlemen”, “dedicated, ” “hardworking”, “down to earth” and that they have “good qualities”, but you hate their “extremist ideology”. This sounds contradictory to me. If they hold an “extremist” ideology, how can they be considered to be nice people (as you claim)? Isn’t there a relationship between a person’s character and the type of ideologies they hold? I understand “extremist” ideologies to mean that one has ideas that may involve violence or harm to others. So how can one be a “gentleman” and hold such ideologies?

    Either you are not sincere in saying they are nice, or they really have the good qualities you highlighted but their ideology is not “extremist” as you think.

    Or maybe you need to figure out what factors make such nice people (according to you) take up such an “extremist” ideology.

  • yapa

    Dear Travelling Academic;

    “But have you ever wondered how these people whom you love, get along well with, hardworking gentlemen in your assessment, who also love you in return, got into their thick skulls this extremist ideology of separating the country? Sure, part of it is brain-washing, part of it is just criminal intent and a lot of it came from meddling foreing policy of the Indian government, but isn’t our post-independence political establishment also a wee bit guilty of offering fertile ground for the rise of this separatist call?”

    Above comment of yours I think represents almost the totality of my opinion about this issue. Both parties are not without faults and not without merits. According to my belief what we should now do is finding a way to analyze our own faults and appreciate the merits of the other party, and not the other way round. We should formulate our strategies keeping that in mind with loving kindness towards the other party. At present the scenario is not that. We are engaged in strategies of hatred by shrewdly fabricating stories to undermine each other. I am also in that flow as I feel there must be some people to counter such fabricated lies about us and hence engaged in the same process that the other party is doing. If this is going to continue, there will not be an end to this. All of us in the both parties can continue this “game” forever not letting others to win, ultimately having no winner. I also cannot come out of it, I think because finding faults of others generate hatred and hatred regenerate hatred. Therefore I think rather than improving our hatred making skills, such as writing “marvelous articles” against others, we should try to improve our honesty, genuineness, kindness towards each other even in a simple place like this forum. We all should not spend our energies to fabricate, highlight, dig out,create, generate faults of others, really the opposite is the order of the day in these forums with our mighty contributions. We must have a liking to put off this kindling fire. We should start it from our hearts. We also must understand that there must be two hands to clap and must be more focused on our responsibilities than our rights. We must be true in our hearts and must be prepared to give up some of our comforts/privileges/rights for others.

    I think any good initiative should start from the heart, from the “both sides of the heart”.

    I am also looking for an opportunity to shed these unnecessary differences.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear Belle,

    That is the unfortunate truth. These hard working, dedicated, down to earth gentlemen are also suffering from that ailment. A group is not the sum total of individuals, that may be another reason. A collection of good individuals does not necessarily make a “good group”. Group mentality is not necessarily equal to the individual mentality, and in this issue individuals are directed by that perverted group mentality of good individuals. I think that solves your contradiction. You, and I can be cited as good examples in this regard. Isn’t that so, Belle?

    I further think that this ideology is dropped from the sky and not naturally born among us. But still we love it and quarrels with each other to own this fantastic ideology.

    Aren’t we a herd of birds in the net of a hunter?

    Thanks!

    Thanks!

  • Krish

    Wijayapala – Wonderful posts again! My knowledge about SL is very poor, which is perhaps why my impression was (and probably is still) high about Ranil. Anyways, I agree with you on how LTTE’s presence has put so much backwards for everyone, primarily Tamils. A terrorist organization that would not disarm, would not seriously negotiate and would not avoid holding people hostages has put SL Govt. also in an inevitable war mode. 2002 provided the last and golden opportunity for LTTE, which Prabkaran arrogantly dismissed. Indeed it is so sad that a terrorist group became the sole representative of it’s ethnic group after eliminating all moderates. Still don’t understand how Tamil people ended up supporting LTTE to the extent they did! But anyways….

    I am interested in your perspectives on this:
    Were there any Tamil leaders during the time of LTTE (or even before all the way back to 1940s) that were against partitioning the country. In another words, weren’t there any Tamil leaders that were Nationalist in nature towards Srilanka? I am looking at folks like Lakshman Kadirgamar for instance.

  • wijayapala

    Yapa,

    I like them, I respect them and appreciate their contribution to this country too. But I cannot tolerate their extremist ideology formed recently with the view to break this country. I never tolerate it even with all the good qualities of the Tamils. Though I love them in personal basis, I hate them as a whole until they shed that destructive attitude.

    Interesting, the Tamils have a very similar view of us!

  • Belle

    Yapa,
    I have heard that the whole can be more the sum total of its parts, but can it be less than its parts and betray its own nature/character? A number of gentlemen cannot come together and become ungentlemanly in the process unless something or someone ungentlemanly has invaded them from the outside. Ideologies don’t drop down from the skies–they are a response to circumstances and needs.

    If an individual has been taken over by a certain (ungentlemanly or extremist) group mentality, then he would have been transformed so that even as an individual, he will now be ungentlemanly or extremist–no longer what he was before. Otherwise he would be a split personality! Are you saying that Tamils are a bunch of schizophrenics?

    l remain perplexed at how these Tamils that you know can subscribe to an extremist ideology while still remaining nice individuals. Either you are wrong in taking them to be gentlemen or you are wrong in saying that they subscribe to an “extremist” ideology.

  • wijayapala

    Krish,

    Were there any Tamil leaders during the time of LTTE (or even before all the way back to 1940s) that were against partitioning the country. In another words, weren’t there any Tamil leaders that were Nationalist in nature towards Srilanka? I am looking at folks like Lakshman Kadirgamar for instance.

    With a few exceptions, there weren’t any Tamil leaders who openly advocated separatism until the mid-1970s, although the Federal Party was perceived by the Sinhalese to be a crypto-secessionist party. By the time the war started in 1983, it was virtually impossible for a Tamil leader to disavow separatism, although it is believed now (in hindsight) that all of the non-LTTE groups were willing to settle for less than separation.

    Perhaps from the Tamil perspective “Nationalist” necessarily meant supporting something like federalism in lieu of separatism after the war began. In this sense one could argue that Neelan Thiruchelvam was a “nationalist” as well as Anandasangaree, although Neelan paid for it with his life.

  • wijayapala

    Prof Heshan, in your mind-boggling treatise above you did not answer one simple question: if SL beat the LTTE while NATO is losing in Afghanistan, why should NATO be the model for SL?

  • Heshan

    Dear Yapa:

    But I cannot tolerate their extremist ideology formed recently with the view to break this country.

    I would like to know what you mean by “country”? Is it the “country” created by the British? Or the “country” mentioned only in Mahavamsa? And can you prove that your father’s father or great-grandfather, ever lived in the North of the island? In my opinion, we should not form an opinion of people based on fairy tales. If they have lived on some land for 1000-2000 years, then why fight them for the land? Thanks.

  • Krish

    Wijayapala, I was thinking of Neelan Thiruchelvam for his efforts at the height of LTTE’s power in the mid-nineties to negotiate with Chandrika Kumarathunga. Wasn’t R Sampanthan his party deputy or something when Neelan Thiruchelvam was killed in 1999? I guess Sampanthan moved from TULF to TNA alongwith Anandasangaree, but when TNA recognized LTTE as the only representative of Tamil people still continued with TNA. That is why I like Anandasangaree and suspect Sampanthan’s motives. That is one of the worst things LTTE brought to Tamil people, which is, killing any alternative voice from Tamil side particularly the non-violent ones. The way they went about killing moderates like Amirthalingam, Neelan, Kadirgamar etc. was really annoying. And then ofcourse, their killing of Premadasa, Rajiv Gandhi, Gamini Dissanayake etc etc. I still wonder why India and Sri lanka didn’t do much to eliminate LTTE much earlier.

    In any case, other than Anandasangaree, are there any leaders that you know of who are nationalistic in their approach from the Tamil side? I am talking about folks who are alive this time. Don’t know what kind of leaders KP and Karuna would be who have such historical criminal/terrorist records/linkage. What do you think?

  • yapa

    Dear Belle,

    I like your direct and to the point questioning. It drives things to the hard rock to lay foundation on a solid ground.

    Anyway before answering your conclusion(s) posed to me as questions I would like to look at the premise of yours from where your hard questioning springs out.

    Concisely your premise:

    “I have heard that the whole can be more the sum total of its parts, but can it be less than its parts and betray its own nature/character?”

    Can the whole be less than its parts?

    My answer, Yes;

    It can either be less, more or equal.

    You know, 2+3= 5. In this case everybody can understand that whole is equal to the sum of its parts. Not only for numbers, this is true for all “Scalar Quantities” in Mathematics and Science. Volume is a scalar quantity and when your pour three pints of water to two points of water you get five pints of water. However, this not always true for “Vector Quantities”. Velocity is a vector quantity and when the velocity of 3 metres per second is added to 2 metres per second, the whole (=total=resultant) is many of the times is not equal to 5 metres per second. It has many less answers, one equal answer and one answer equals to zero. In this case the whole is always less than or equal to the sum of its parts.

    I can explain this with an anecdote too. Look at this situation.

    If one woman can weave 3 mats in a day, how many mats can two women weave in a nday when they work together?

    Mathematical answer is 6 and a Management expert would argue that it would be more than 6 on the basis of “synergy” created through team work.

    But there is also a simpleton answer given by people like us. We are used to say “none”.

    You know why, when two women get together, we say, they won’t work, but gossip through out the day keeping all their work aside.

    Doesn’t this funny story convey that message across? I think it does. It really shows that that the law is even true, out side the Mathematical domains.

    Again when the whole is more, there is no dispute among us, right?

    Therefore, I think you will accept that your premise is not a universally true one and hence it does not always gives rise to true conclusions, even with most subtle arguments. Therefore, even in the meaning given by you to “more” and “less” even within this context, there can be many exceptions to your conclusion(s) mentioned above.

    I will try to explain.

    Your notions:

    (1) “Tamils can not subscribe to an extremist ideology while still remaining nice individuals.”

    (2). Ideologies don’t drop down from the skies–they are a response to circumstances and needs.

    But look at following statement of yours. In this you accepts the opposite of both above. Please see carefully.

    ” A number of gentlemen cannot come together and become ungentlemanly in the process unless (1) – something or someone ungentlemanly has invaded them from the outside (2).

    Here you say that there are possibilities for gentlemen becoming ngentlemanly (1). and ideologies (something or someone) could be dropped (invaded) from the skies (outside) (2).

    Really unconscious mind of yours has overtaken the notions of your conscious mind. Please give a chance to your unconscious mind once in a while to determine to shape your thinking. Some times it tells the truths we don’t know and we don’t won’t to believe.

    However, if you say this is split personality, I think almost all the human beings are suffering from it if we are to say it is a mental deficiency.

    No mentality is a pure “Doctor Jekyll” or a “Mister Hyde”. It is a complicated mixture. That is why psychology still is a growing subject.

    An ugly “devil” can creep into a good gentleman and can transform him into an ungentlemanly individual without changing external looking. We will have to chase that devil out and replace it with a beautiful fairy.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear Heshan;

    Q: I would like to know what you mean by “country”?

    A: What I mean by the country is the geographical entity presently known as “Sri Lanka”.

    Q: And can you prove that your father’s father or great-grandfather, ever lived in the North of the island?

    A: One may be able to prove that his father or great-grandfather, lived in the North of the island, but he may not be able to prove that his great great grand father of the tenth generation ever lived in the North of the island. But some other who cannot prove that his father or great-grandfather lived in the North of the island,might be able to do so.

    Q: In my opinion, we should not form an opinion of people based on fairy tales. If they have lived on some land for 1000-2000 years, then why fight them for the land? Thanks.

    A: I agree, same is applied to the opinion of “Traditional Homeland”.

    Q: If they have lived on some land for 1000-2000 years, then why fight them for the land? Thanks.

    A: I think this is a question you need to answer .

    Thanks!

  • Heshan

    if SL beat the LTTE while NATO is losing in Afghanistan, why should NATO be the model for SL?

    NATO is not losing in Afghanistan.

  • yapa

    Dear All;

    The argument behind the Tamil homeland and the separatist war waged is that Jaffna had been a separate kingdom, when the British captured it, and therefore when the independence was achieved it should be given separately back to the Tamils. Our governance should be based on the pre- colonial scenario, the theory suggests.I think Heshan re reminds this theory to us in his post addressed to me. But this theory has many lapses.

    1. If the people are alocated according to the pre- colonial period, where the Tamil people who came from India after that should go? So many Tamils were brought to North, East (and to up country) by British to work in their plantations.

    2. In that case should the Tamils of East be replaced by Sinhalese as these areas were primarily occupied by Sinhalese, before the colonials captured that area?

    3. Does anybody who support the theory approve of sending up country Tamils back to India?

    4. India had many kingdoms when it was captured by colonials. Many kingdoms were still operating under the Maha Rajas even when the country was handed back to India in 1947. India abolished all these kingdoms and merged them into a single country. Does anybody who support the said theory, force the Indian government to handover the kingdoms back to the Maha Rajas?

    We should live in peace and harmony in this country together , without trying to get undue advantages on the basis of self deceiving false theories.

    Thanks!

  • Belle

    Yapa,
    “Anyway before answering your conclusion(s) posed to me as questions I would like to look at the premise of yours from where your hard questioning springs out.
    Concisely your premise:
    “I have heard that the whole can be more the sum total of its parts, but can it be less than its parts and betray its own nature/character?”
    Can the whole be less than its parts?”

    Your argument is based on mis-stating my premise. It is not “Can the whole be less than its parts” but rather “Can the whole be less than its parts and betray its own nature/character”.

    ‘I will try to explain.
    Your notions:
    (1) “Tamils can not subscribe to an extremist ideology while still remaining nice individuals.”
    (2). Ideologies don’t drop down from the skies–they are a response to circumstances and needs.
    But look at following statement of yours. In this you accepts the opposite of both above. Please see carefully.
    ” A number of gentlemen cannot come together and become ungentlemanly in the process unless (1) – something or someone ungentlemanly has invaded them from the outside (2).
    Here you say that there are possibilities for gentlemen becoming ngentlemanly (1). and ideologies (something or someone) could be dropped (invaded) from the skies (outside) (2).
    Really unconscious mind of yours has overtaken the notions of your conscious mind.’

    There is no contradiction here. It is your unconscious mind that associates invasion as coming from above. I think of invasions as coming from the side. No doubt, being a woman, my unconscious is different from yours.

    “However, if you say this is split personality, I think almost all the human beings are suffering from it if we are to say it is a mental deficiency.”

    I was referring to the clinical split personality. Very few people suffer from this. I was not talking about the figurative meaning of a split personality.

    “An ugly “devil” can creep into a good gentleman and can transform him into an ungentlemanly individual without changing external looking. We will have to chase that devil out and replace it with a beautiful fairy.”

    Huh? A fairy? You want to take a straight gentleman and turn him into a gay guy? Why? What does sexual orientation have to do with good and evil?

  • Heshan

    Dear Yapa:

    It’s pretty obvious that Tamils have been the majority in the North of the island for over 1000 years. Just as we can say that the Sinhalese have been the majority in the South of the island for over 1000 years. Therefore, they have a right to call the relevant land their “homeland.” Just like Sinhalese do. I do not agree with separation of the island into two different nations, but I do support maximum devolution, e.g. federalism.

  • wijayapala

    Prof Heshan,

    NATO is not losing in Afghanistan.

    Interestingly terse reply- not the long-winded tirade I came to expect from you!

    Would you mind sharing a single editorial from the last 6 mo. that backs up your claim? As you could not show me a single Tamil website that broke the story of Prabakaran’s death within 1 mo. of its occurrence, I must admit that I don’t hold high expectations from you!

    And can you prove that your father’s father or great-grandfather, ever lived in the North of the island?

    Can you?

  • wijayapala

    Krish,

    I still wonder why India and Sri lanka didn’t do much to eliminate LTTE much earlier.

    What could either have done to eliminate the LTTE without harming thousands of Tamils in the process?

    India during the IPKF years and Chandrika during the late 1990s intentionally pursued limited strategies against the LTTE that wound up harming the Tamils anyway. The Tamils came to vilify and excoriate both of them and in Chandrika’s case, supported the UNP that had sabotaged two efforts to reach a “political solution.” I wonder whether this played a role in the Rajapakshas’ own strategy.

    Neelan was a member of TULF in the late 1990s but he was not the leader. If I remember correctly, the president was M. Sivasithamparam who survived the assassination attempt that killed Amirthalingam and led TULF until his death in 2002, when he was replaced by Anandasangaree. As you pointed out, Sangaree faced a crisis after Sampanthan and other TNA MPs refused to support his stand that criticized the LTTE. Sangaree could no longer lead the TNA but he remained president of TULF.

    I predicted that the TNA would shatter after the LTTE’s defeat and that Sangaree would fill the void in leadership, but I had underestimated Sampanthan’s ties with Senathirajah and Premachandran that kept the TNA alive.

    In any case, other than Anandasangaree, are there any leaders that you know of who are nationalistic in their approach from the Tamil side?

    I am unclear what you mean by “nationalistic”; the term is no longer relevant as the LTTE is gone and thus it is no longer a question of whether Tamil leaders support separatism (and the LTTE by default) or not. Rather I think the question is how credible are certain leaders given their earlier ties to the LTTE and the present ties to the Rajapakshas. Douglas Devananda might have “credibility” among Sinhalese for his consistent anti-LTTE politics, but he has little if any crediblity among Tamils because of his links with the various govts.

    After the recent depressing electoral defeat of Sangaree I am very pessimistic that anything positive will be accomplished. I think we will have to wait for the next generation of leaders to bridge the current wide gap between Sinhalese and Tamils, such as Podiappuhamy Piyasena.

  • wijayapala

    Belle, sorry I didn’t see your earlier posts, I had confused them with yapa’s. Your writing styles are very similar!

  • wijayapala

    Dear yapa,

    I provided a lengthy response to your points on August 5, 2010 @ 6:16 am. As you did not reply, I presume that you accepted my arguments and understood the futility of applying Cholas and Pandyas to modern times.

    The argument behind the Tamil homeland and the separatist war waged is that Jaffna had been a separate kingdom

    That came later. The original argument behind Tamil homeland and separatist war that held traction was that the Tamils were not safe in a Sinhala-majority Sri Lanka. This argument became particularly relevant during JRJ’s first term which started off with anti-Tamil violence (1977), the burning of Jaffna library (1981), and topped off with the worst communal violence of all (1983). That was a lot for just 6 years!

    Interestingly, this argument of Tamil safety was turned on its head by the 1990s as the war dragged on with no end in sight, and more people getting killed. The Tamils saw the war as a curse and welcomed the CFA in 2002. Arguably the LTTE’s provocations that led to the end of the CFA and resumption of war played a major role in the Tamils’ disillusionment with the LTTE.

  • Belle

    Wijayapala,
    “Belle, sorry I didn’t see your earlier posts, I had confused them with yapa’s. Your writing styles are very similar!”

    That says more about your inability to discriminate between styles and perspectives than anything about my writing.

  • Heshan

    Would you mind sharing a single editorial from the last 6 mo. that backs up your claim?

    Can you show me a single military base or command post manned by NATO that was overrun by the Taliban? I still remember when the LTTE nearly overran Jaffna (during CBK’s time).

  • Heshan

    As you could not show me a single Tamil website that broke the story of Prabakaran’s death within 1 mo. of its occurrence,

    There are plenty of such websites. Like I said, if you don’t know how to use the Internet, you should consult with your lord and master, DBS.

  • Travelling Academic

    Dear Yapa,

    “At present the scenario is not that. We are engaged in strategies of hatred by shrewdly fabricating stories to undermine each other. I am also in that flow as I feel there must be some people to counter such fabricated lies about us and hence engaged in the same process that the other party is doing.”

    In this, I differ from you. The bad guys are attacking us with fabricated lies. Should we counter them with the same process? Should we not set higher standards for ourselves? Can we continue to be proud of our history and civilization if we use the evil behaviour of the bad guys as justification for behaving in the same way, as you imply above??

  • yapa

    Dear Wijayapala;

    I am sorry that I couldn’t answer your lengthy response of August 5, 2010 @, I had to pick most pricking comments to answer, with my limited time to enjoy the luxury of writing. What to do? Beggars can’t be choosers no? Anyway don’t get desperate, I will just touch upon them.

    You say;

    “I am not saying that history in general is irrelevant; the history of the last 200 years and especially the last 60 years are highly relevant and must be explored thoroughly.”

    If one party to the problem says that this period has been highly unfavourable to them and things developed infavour of others, how do you take this period only as the base of history to decide the present set up?will that deliver justice? In this case one might argue that thousands of years of history may necessary to correct the historical injustice done to them. Really one party could be able show that a particular piece of land was belonged to them foe 1000years and the other party also claims its right for another 1000 years. Which 1000 years you suggest to give up? No one can claim exclusive rights.

    There is no solution other than giving both parties the common rights. Sri Lankan problem cannot be solved by dividing the country into the exclusive ethnic zones.
    …………………

    Regarding the friendly relations of Sinhalese and Dravidians

    You may be able to show some scattered incidents in the history that relationship between Davidians and Sinhalese were friendly. But if we talk in averages and aggregates, I think my notions still holds. But it is obvious that this cannot continue further. Tamils should give up their long lasted attitude of breaking a piece from this country, and must settle for a peaceful living in a single country. Sinhalese have suspected Tamils as “the country breakers” throughout the history with good evidence and they will never settle for anything with Tamils until they convince Sinhalese they are no more for that “mean” purpose. When this fact is convinced, I don’t think a peaceful solution is difficult. But I think this is a precondition. Sinhalese will not accept Tamils as honest, praying for peace here and plotting all over the world at the same time against them. Rabbits or any other will not trust those who are running races with rabbits while hunting with dogs.
    ……………………

    Your following statement gives credit to Dravidians for an inability they had. Even with a mighty effort wiping out was not a possibility. This inability does not show that they were not against the Sinhala people.

    “When the Cholas and Pandyans conquered SL, they did not wipe out the Sinhala population because their wars were not against the Sinhala people. That would have been an “ethnic” war similar to how the recent war was fought.”

    …………………….

    “If there were pro-LTTE Sinhalese, then why are you blaming the Tamils for everything?”

    I didn’t appreciate such Sinhalese and therefore my blame for LTTE is not unjustifiable.

    ……………………
    “I can’t think of a single Tamil ally of any of the ancient Sinhala kings who received the position after murdering 600 of the king’s supporters in cold blood. Can you?”

    Who do you mean? Prabakara?
    …………….
    “Which Chola/Pandya king attacked Buddhist pilgrims at the Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura?”

    In that respect Prabakaran could be more savage.
    …………….

    WRT your last five questions, I am not a Mahinda fan or an advocate. But I considered him as a necessary evil while LTTE as an unnecessary evil.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear Travelling Academic;

    RE: your comment of August 9, 2010 @ 11:32 am

    What else can I do? When women try to use a cobra to bundle up fire wood, he has at least to show his hood up.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear Heshan;

    Q: “It’s pretty obvious that Tamils have been the majority in the North of the island for over 1000 years.

    A: I doubt. Can you prove your “obvious”?

    Q: Just as we can say that the Sinhalese have been the majority in the South of the island for over 1000 years.

    A: No, They have been the majority in those areas for at least 2500 years. Most probably more. In other parts too they had been the majority for over 1500 years.

    Q: Therefore, they have a right to call the relevant land their “homeland.” Just like Sinhalese do.

    Above statement of yours could be used for a nasty and disastrous argument. It might imply that as the Up Country Tamils are not living here more than 200 years and those lands had been owned by Sinhalese for over 2000 years, Up Country as “Sinhalese Homeland”. Further, the history of many of the Tamils in the North and East also will not run back more than a couple of hundred years, and would see its end with the colonial periods. However, we will have to keep in mind that Sinhalese has never claimed exclusive land rights, though they are the oldest inhabitant of this country. We have to accept the reality that some parts of this country have been solely used by Sinhalese throughout the history while only some of the lands have been alternatively used by various ethnic groups . If a homeland is claimed, it is possible only by Sinhalese on the basis of exclusive lands ownership of them. However, Sinhalese like to live in a single country with all the other brothers and sisters.

    Q: I do not agree with separation of the island into two different nations, but I do support maximum devolution, e.g. federalism.”

    A: The way federalism implemented and operating in Canada,Austrlia and Germany seems to be effective and good. Most of the Federal Systems effectively operating all over the world are based on geographic parameters. This system helps to make large countries to be governed efficiently and effectively.

    However, I am not sure whether we have models to gain experience for “Ethnicity based Federal Systems” in the world. I think this is rather a “scarce federal system” different from the prevailing federal system in the world. I have no knowledge about the efficiency and effectiveness of such a system. Therefore, it is good to assess the worthiness of this “new model of Ethnicity based Federal System” for a peaceful single nation. If it is effective like in Canada, Australia and Germany I am 100% for it.

    Thanks!

  • wijayapala

    Dear Yapa,

    Thank you for your response.

    If one party to the problem says that this period has been highly unfavourable to them and things developed infavour of others, how do you take this period only as the base of history to decide the present set up?will that deliver justice? In this case one might argue that thousands of years of history may necessary to correct the historical injustice done to them.

    Let’s please discuss in specific terms not abstract. How was ancient history unfavorable to the Sinhalese?

    Colonial history may have been unfavorable to the Sinhalese.. but it was unfavorable for most Tamils as well. The only difference is that proportionately more Tamils benefited during that time than Sinhalese. That trend began to shift after universal franchise was implemented in the 1930s.

    You may be able to show some scattered incidents in the history that relationship between Davidians and Sinhalese were friendly. But if we talk in averages and aggregates, I think my notions still holds.

    If you’re relying on the Mahavamsa, the problem is that it presents major events such as war and not day-to-day life. It is not a useful source to determine the relationship between Sinhalese and S. Indians.

    The fact that the Sinhalese have the same genetic stock as the Tamils probably gives a good idea how friendly we were! ;-)

    Tamils should give up their long lasted attitude of breaking a piece from this country,

    How long was this “long lasted attitude?” It wasn’t there prior to 1956, when all of SL was made into a Sinhala “exclusive ethnic zone.”

    Your following statement gives credit to Dravidians for an inability they had. Even with a mighty effort wiping out was not a possibility.

    How do you know that they tried to wipe us out?

    “If there were pro-LTTE Sinhalese, then why are you blaming the Tamils for everything?”
    I didn’t appreciate such Sinhalese and therefore my blame for LTTE is not unjustifiable.

    I did not ask why you blame the LTTE. I am asking you why you blame all Tamils.

    “I can’t think of a single Tamil ally of any of the ancient Sinhala kings who received the position after murdering 600 of the king’s supporters in cold blood. Can you?”
    Who do you mean? Prabakara?

    Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan aka “Col” Karuna

  • wijayapala

    Prof Heshan,

    Can you show me a single military base or command post manned by NATO that was overrun by the Taliban?

    The Vietnamese Communists failed to overrun US military bases during the Vietnam War. Could you enlighten us who won that war?

    As you could not show me a single Tamil website that broke the story of Prabakaran’s death within 1 mo. of its occurrence,
    There are plenty of such websites.

    Sorry Heshie boy, when you make a claim the burden of proof falls on YOU. You can’t expect Uncle Wije to look for the evidence to refute himself!

    You only provided Defencewire, showing that you trust Sinhala nationalist websites over Tamil sites. That led me to speculate whether you are actually a Sinhala nationalist posing as a Tamil to make them look stupid.

  • Travelling Academic

    Dear Yapa,

    “What else can I do?”

    It is not for me to prescribe what you ought to do. My own view is that we, Sri Lankans, should not stoop down to the same level as the terror group and its remote control backers, and keep our behaviour to higher norms, both in debate and in our physical actions. We should pressure our representatives into adopting a more open and transparent approach to problem-solving and not let them hide behind the memory of the terror group (or its current exaggerated residual noises) to justify exercising terror on us. Today, Sri Lanka has the wonderful opportunity to demonstrate to the world behaviour of quality much higher than that of the terror group it got rid of. (In some areas I know this is actually happening, due to conscientious individual actions of good people amongst civil servants and army officers). We have the wonderful opportunity to march forward in economic development and at the same time adopt an arrangement of governance in which your gentlemen Tamil friends are won over by the power of persuation and inclusive givernment policies, than be made to feel alien in their own country. Believe me, as much as they see you as a friend and love you in return for your love on an individual basis, as a group they are systematically made to feel alienated by government policies, both in statute and in practice — and if you are their friend, you might well start by trying to understand how and why they are being made to feel so — perhaps ask them! With improved understanding of their perception, your question “what else can I do?” will hopefully get good answers and possible follow-up actions on your part consistent with our history and civilization, of which you and I are rightfully proud. This is much better way forward than “fabricating lies to counter the lies of the other side”, as the mode of operation you observed.

  • Belle

    Yapa,

    You said to Wijayapala:
    “If one party to the problem says that this period has been highly unfavourable to them and things developed infavour of others, how do you take this period only as the base of history to decide the present set up?will that deliver justice?”

    If the intention of the present set up is to deliver equal rights and opportunities to all groups, then why are history’s injustices and ancient stories relevant? Unless of course you are arguing that one group deserves more than others because of alleged injustices against them thousands of years ago. Are you arguing that? If you are, no egalitarian-minded person will agree with you.

    “There is no solution other than giving both parties the common rights. Sri Lankan problem cannot be solved by dividing the country into the exclusive ethnic zones.”

    Yes, I agree with you here. There are large swathes of SL which are Sinhalese ethnic zones. Perhaps just as we re-settle the north with Sinhalese, we should also re-settle the South with Tamils. Can always get some from Tamil Nadu if the local numbers are not sufficient.

    “You may be able to show some scattered incidents in the history that relationship between Davidians and Sinhalese were friendly. But if we talk in averages and aggregates, I think my notions still holds.”

    Professional historians don’t talk of averages and aggregates–they know that the history that is now known is only a small slice of all that happened in the past. Unless you know every moment of life as it happened in Sri Lanka for the last two or more thousand years, you are not justified in talking of history’s “averages and aggregates.” That is merely ignorance pretending that it has a grasp on knowledge.

    Professional historians also try to examine historical events in their specificity. They try to avoid looking at the past through the lens of the present and instead discover the lens or way of thought of those times buried in the event itself. It is only then that history can deliver up its real truths and provide positive inspiration on how to live today, rather than resulting in notions like yours where history is used to justify today’s evils. Wijayapala is looking at past events as objectively as he can, and see how it shows him that inter-ethnic relations are possible and are part of SL’s heritage. I think that is far more empowering for Sri Lankans than your prejudiced look at history.

    “WRT your last five questions, I am not a Mahinda fan or an advocate. But I considered him as a necessary evil while LTTE as an unnecessary evil.”

    To believe that any kind of evil is “necessary” makes you evil indeed! You are the Sinhalese version of Tamil LTTE supporters who believe that Mahinda is an unnecessary evil while LTTE is the necessary evil!

  • yapa

    Dear All;

    I have read a story from the Grimm Brothers Collection when I was a child, I think would pertinent to the present issue of Sri Lanka.

    In that story a man takes a piece of cloth to a tailor to make a hat out of it. He asked the tailor whether he can make a hat out of it. The tailor answered in affirmation and asked for a few days to finish the job. After going back home the man thought that the tailor was very positive about making a hat out of the cloth may because the cloth is too big for one hat. Next day he went back to the tailor and asked whether he could make two hat out of the cloth. The tailor answered in affirmation coolly. The man went home and thought that the cloth might be sufficient for three hats and the following day went to the tailor and asked whether he could make three hats out of the cloth. The tailor was cool as ever. Tailor was cool for two more occations and the man was happy that he could get five hats out of that piece of single cloth.

    The day to collects arrived and the man went to see the tailor. The man asked for the hats and the tailor brought all five hats wearing them to his five fingers of the hand. The five hats were ideally fitting the fingers.

    I think we should not demand “more and more hats”, just because we feel it is gainful for us. One hat could also be better than five hats.

    We must try to make our plans on the “need base”. We must think objectively in finding solutions to our problems.

    Thanks!

  • Heshan

    The Vietnamese Communists failed to overrun US military bases during the Vietnam War. Could you enlighten us who won that war?

    WInning a war means forcing the other side to surrender and gaining some kind of concession. Whether or not NATO leaves Afghanistan, the Taliban will never regain control of the government of the country. This is the current phase of NATO operations – to train the Afghanistan forces to handle security. So if you say NATO has lost the war, you also have to state what the Taliban has gained, which is nothing.

    Vietnam War – USA lost 50,000 men, and the North Vietnamese lost more than 1 million. The South Vietnamese were actually the ones who lost, not the USA. The USA did not make any reparations to North Vietnam/Vietnam. In the long-term, the North Vietnamese are the losers. Look at South Korea and Japan – they are 1st world nations with top economics. Now look at North Korea and Vietnam, both of which fought against the USA – who is the winner?

    You only provided Defencewire, showing that you trust Sinhala nationalist websites over Tamil sites.

    The original claim you made was that DBS was the only one to announce the death of Prabhakaran. I have shown that is false; whether the website is Sinhala or Tamil is irrelevant.

  • Heshan

    *with top economies

  • wijayapala

    Travelling Academic, wonderful post to yapa!

  • BalangodaMan

    Reconciliation: we are ALL essentially from South India.

    If we acknowledge that only in the past 20 years have we really known who we really are scientifically, despite the stories told us by our ancestors (and we speak a different language and live in a different part of the island). Our ancestors did not have the benefit of DNA evidence, but we in our generation have. We have no excuse to ignore it.

    We know that research conducted at Stamford University (1996?) shows that we the Sinhalese are 75% of South Indian origin, according to our DNA. So the divisions are not about from whom we descend – South Indians people, same as the people who we call Tamil. Just that some of us were told we are ‘Sinhalese’ and others that they are ‘Tamil’. (Mr Yapa, just as some of us were told we are Buddhist and others that they are Muslim).

    Surely, official acknowledgement of the DNA facts should pave the way towards reconciliation and ‘one Sri Lanka’? We cannot escape it as our DNA is in every cell and future generations will know this more widely and without dispute. Future generations will be better educated; they will regard yesterday and today’s ‘racial’ divisions as emerging out of ignorance, our ignorance and that of people who lived centuries ago.

    We can start regarding us as ‘one people’ right now. Why wait?

  • yapa

    Dear Belle;

    You say;

    “If the intention of the present set up is to deliver equal rights and opportunities to all groups, then why are history’s injustices and ancient stories relevant?”

    If all are prepared to settle for an equal rights and opportunities scenario, then history’s injustices and ancient stories should be kept aside. I am arguing in a dynamic scenario where you all are bargaining for maximum. I know in an equilibrium, static situation everything belong to the past should be forgotten and live happily ever after.

    We all must strive to see the end.

    Thanks!

  • Heshan

    Dear Yapa:

    If a homeland is claimed, it is possible only by Sinhalese on the basis of exclusive lands ownership of them.

    The above statement can only be “validated” by Mahavamsa/Deepavamsa/Culavamsa, which as I said, is the equivalent of a fairy tale, in the context of objective analysis. Therefore, the rest of your argument falls apart without the basic “Mahavamsa/Deepavamsa/Culavamsa is premise. Therefore, you cannot dismiss the “Tamil homeland” theory using the above logic. As I said, the fact that Tamils have lived on a particular piece of land for thousands of years in disproportionately higher numbers than any other group does indeed justify their right to call it a homeland.

  • BalangodaMan

    Mr Yapa,

    Adding to what Heshan said (you are taking the Mahavamsa etc origins as literal truth rather than legend and/or more likely political propaganda of ancient people promoted by the political agenda of present day people) … if the distinction between Sinhalese and Tamil is on the basis of ‘geographical origin’ then present day evidence disproves our long-held beliefs.

    Remember, for millennia people believed that god created the Heavens and the Earth in 6 days, because the ancient books said so. Today our understanding of the origin of the universe is very different and is based on scientific evidence. Similarly, if scientific evidence shows that every one of us (Sinhalese) descends predominantly from the people of South India then the myth of geographical origin is blown isn’t it?

    We are then left with the only real distinction – language, custom, religion and which part of the island we live in.

    To recap from another thread: the irony is, the Sinhalese are genetically predominantly Tamil (75%), and the actual religious practice of the majority is more Hindu than any other.

  • Krish

    Dear Wijayapala -This is regarding your earlier question about “Nationalists” from Tamil side. I should apologize for confusing you, coming from where I come from. I was using that term very loosely for SL context in the way that they would apply in Indian context. My question was, were there any Tamil folks in the last 60 years who were firmly committed to the territorial integrity of Srilanka, no matter what the grievances of Tamils are. I knew Lakshman Kadirgamar was one such person. Are there any uniters from the Tamil side who would engage in meaningful discussions with the Sinhalese majority as to bring the two communities together rather than dig into the wrongs of history? If yes, I am interested to know.

    Going back to usage of “Nationalist” in the Indian context, among Tamil politicians in India, you can say that P Chidambaram, Jayanthi Natarajan as Nationalistic, whereas Vaiko, Ramadoss are likely not. In the previous generations, you could say that Rajagopalachari, Kamaraj, Bhaktavatsalam as Nationalists, whereas Annadurai, Karunanidhi, Neduncheziyan are not. All these folks are Tamilians, but the Nationalists consider themselves Indians first and then Tamilians. And for the other group, their regional/linguistic identity is first and then the national identity. I hope you see where I come from now. :)

  • yapa

    Dear Heshan;

    As you said Mahavamsa, Deepavamsa, Culavamsa provides evidence infaour of the theory I believe.

    1.What evidence do you have to negate it.

    2. What evidence do you have to show that Tamils have lived on a particular piece of land for thousands of years in disproportionately higher numbers than any other group does? (I presume your reference to “a particular piece of land” is a piece of land in Sri Lanka not else where.)

    Tell me what evidence you can provide to say that your theory is more credible than mine.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear BalangodaMan;

    I think Iranians are genetically over 90% of Americans? Will Americans give citizenship to the Iranians because of that genetic similarity?

    I think you got mixed up Biological Science with Social Science.

    Man is a social/political animal. Not just a biological animal.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear BalangodaMan;

    On the basis of an extension of your logic we can suggest to remove all visa barriers in the world. All the people of the world are made of the same amino acid. Further more, all the animals and plants can be applied for visas in any country, as all living things rare made of amino acids. Again stones, rocks, rivers also can apply because every thing is made of atoms, no man is different. All of them (living and non living things) can claim for equal human rights too. We can hold a big rally in support of the human rights of stone, rocks and rivers. Can collect signatures to send a petition to the UN council too, to make them aware of this fair demand.

    Hooray! Eureka! Eureka!

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    My belief is in “Unity in Diversity” not “Unity in Rejecting Diversity”.

    Rejecting unpopular realities is a very popular way of attracting mass support. This has become a very popular mode of argument in the recent time. You can call this as “appeal for emotions”. This way hard realities can be defeated with soft myths. For example people all over the world believe against their eye witness that all humans are born equal. But if such people are asked to show two similar people, they will turn the world upside down and after a couple of years they would say they didn’t meet any.

    We deceive ourselves with pleasurable ideas. It is convenient.

    Thanks!

  • wijayapala

    Hi Krish,

    I was using that term very loosely for SL context in the way that they would apply in Indian context.

    I’m glad that you clarified your perspective because it helps me argue a specific point: for Indians to really understand SL, they will have to step outside of the Indian context and understand SL on its own terms. I realize that this is a tall and challenging order, and I’m happy to answer any question you might have. You should also get input from others here as I am obviously not the one and only authority on “the Sri Lankan context.”

    Having said that, I think Sri Lankans would benefit immensely from learning more about “the Indian context.” If they knew more about Indian history- particularly the Independence struggle, they probably would have a better notion of nationalism in and inclusive not exclusive sense. We definitely would welcome your perspective/comments.

    The first and perhaps primary historical difference between SL and India is that SL did not have a “national” independence struggle that united everyone behind a common purpose. The Ceylon National Congress (forerunner of today’s UNP) was a pale shadow of its Indian counterpart. Its leaders were noncommunal but were conservative elitists disconnected from the masses and unable to organize anything resembling Gandhi’s noncooperation campaigns. The opposition before 1954 was the Left, and similar to India they were also noncommunal but also fairly worthless as they were addicted to Marxist theory and their relations with the International rather than addressing local concerns. For the Sinhala majority, there was this wide gap in leadership that was filled by various clowns and nitwits- many of them quite educated, starting with SWRD Bandaranaike. Actually that was the historical role of the SLFP.

    My question was, were there any Tamil folks in the last 60 years who were firmly committed to the territorial integrity of Srilanka, no matter what the grievances of Tamils are.

    There are so many Tamils of this category that beg the more relevant question (for me): “How come the Sinhalese failed to appreciate the contributions of such “nationalistic” Tamils after independence and allowed their fears of Tamil communalism/nationalism to become a self-fulfilling prophecy?”

    I suppose I could start with the Jaffna Youth Congress which was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi in calling for “swaraj” in SL in the early 20th century. After independence there were plenty of Tamils whom I think identified as Sri Lankan or Ceylonese first and Tamil second. For example Maj Gen Anton Muttukumaru who was the first ethnic Sri Lankan Army Commander and wrote a great book on SL military history, or Rear Admiral Rajan Kadirgamar who was one of the first Navy Commanders (then called “Captain of the Navy”). However, people like these became sidelined as communalism came to dominate SL politics. In this sense I think Lakshman Kadirgamar was one of the last if not the last of a dying breed, which I think would be extremely difficult if not impossible to resurrect.

    You had mentioned Kamaraj. Although there is no SL Tamil equivalent (as the UNP or SLFP probably would never have someone who could not speak Sinhala as party president the way Kamaraj became president of Congress), a weak comparison can be made with Alfred Duraiappah who belonged to the SLFP but was popular enough to be elected mayor of Jaffna in the 1970s. Duraiappah was wrongly blamed for the police action at the International Tamil Conference in 1974 that led to nine people accidentally getting killed, and Prabakaran murdered him the following year.

    One interesting Tamil who comes to mind is Siva Pasupathy, the Attorney General under the racist JR regime who drafted the original Prevention of Terrorism Act and was responsible for the imprisonment of numerous Tamil youth. Later he emigrated to Australia and became a hardcore LTTE supporter. I’ve never heard his version of the story how he converted from anti-Tamil nationalist to pro-Tamil nationalist.

    Are there any uniters from the Tamil side who would engage in meaningful discussions with the Sinhalese majority as to bring the two communities together rather than dig into the wrongs of history?

    First we have to answer “Are there any uniters from the Sinhala side who would engage in meaningful discussions with the Tamil minority…?” If the answer is “no” then I think it would be unfair to ask the question for the Tamils.

    Since you asked, though, again I think the best candidate would be Anandasangaree- the only Sri Lankan I know who understands both the Sinhala and Tamil perspectives- but he has been rejected by his own people.

  • wijayapala

    Professor Heshan,

    The original claim you made was that DBS was the only one to announce the death of Prabhakaran. I have shown that is false; whether the website is Sinhala or Tamil is irrelevant.

    Nope, my original claim what that DBSJ was the only Tamil journalist to announce Prabakaran’s demise. How come nobody in the diaspora (where Gotabhaya can’t touch them) has held a funeral service?

    So if you say NATO has lost the war, you also have to state what the Taliban has gained,

    Control over the population?

    Now look at North Korea and Vietnam, both of which fought against the USA – who is the winner?

    You tell me- in fact, can you find a single scholar or even another fellow halfwit who claims that N. Vietnam lost the war?

    Therefore, the rest of your argument falls apart without the basic “Mahavamsa/Deepavamsa/Culavamsa is premise.

    If you had read earlier debates between me and yapa, you would see that he actually rejects the Mahavamsa’s claim that the Sinhalese were foreign immigrants to SL who displaced the preexisting civilisation. Actually there is a lot in the Mahavamsa to debunk Sinhala nationalism, such as the claim that the Sinhalese were the original inhabitants. It’s too bad that Tamils such as yourself have not bothered to read it!

  • yapa

    Dear Travelling Academic,

    I understand, you are describing the “ideal” situation. However, the party which lays the arms aside before a cease fire will definitely loose. The “non material” warfare is still on and I am not prepared to do that unwise act.

    Thanks!

  • Heshan

    Dear Yapa:

    As you said Mahavamsa, Deepavamsa, Culavamsa provides evidence infaour of the theory I believe.

    I very clearly said that Mahavamsa does not provide any such evidence. It only makes a claim.

    1.What evidence do you have to negate it.

    The most obvious evidence is common sense. If it was a fact that Sinhalese came to the island before Tamils, and the evidence was overwhelming, there would not have been a 30 year civil war. Consider the following: the world accepts that all of Egpyt belongs to the Egypt, all of Italy belongs to the Italians (descendants of the Romans) and all of Greece belongs to the Greeks (descendants of the ancient Greeks). But ONLY a few Sinhalese believe that all of Sri Lanka belongs to Sinhalese. Usually when the whole world does not believe something, and only a few believe it, the few people who believe it are probably wrong . Here are some examples of what only a few people believe:

    1. 911 was an inside job

    2. God created the whole Earth in six days

    3. The Jews are the “chosen people.”

    4. Women should not step outside without a male relative

    5. If a homeland is claimed, it is possible only by Sinhalese on the basis of exclusive lands ownership of them.

    I think you are familiar with (5). I have added it to the list of bizarre claims to add some context.

    2. What evidence do you have to show that Tamils have lived on a particular piece of land for thousands of years in disproportionately higher numbers than any other group does? (I presume your reference to “a particular piece of land” is a piece of land in Sri Lanka not else where.)

    There is no architectural evidence to indicate that Sinhalese were the dominant group in the North and East of Sri Lanka. If there were many palaces, dagobas, and Buddha statues, such as we see in Anuradhapura and Polannaruwa, then one could claim that the Sinhalese presence in the North and East of Sri Lanka is significant. However, what one finds is mostly Hindu temples and other Tamil archeology.

    If Mahavamsa claims that such architecture exists, then we should be able to find it. However, as far as I am concerned, no such claim has ever been validated.

    Using logic alone, we are forced to return to the conclusion that based on just architectural evidence, the Tamils have been the dominant group in the North and East of Sri Lanka for at least 1000 years (long enough to justify a homeland claim).

  • ModVoice

    Just a question to Wijayapala:

    Other than to release his tantrum on letters of his personal grudge with the LTTE, which I am sure only passed as a minor irritant to the Rajapakses, or his multiple wives, what did Anandasangaree manage to accomplish? I would be surprised if he was not rejected by the Tamils, nevermind the Sinhalese.
    What is his stand on the political question and how does it fit the Tamil and Sinhala perspectives?

  • Travelling Academic

    @ModVoice
    Couple of weeks ago in Sri Lanka I saw a good interview (TNL / YATV, I think?) with Anandasangaree, in Sinhala, where he accurately identifies the causes of the problems and missed opportunities, past and present. Your question “what has he achieved?” is best answered by looking in a mirror and asking yourself “what did the LTTE actually achieve for the Tamils?” (If you do a simple comparison using known facts, you might be pleasantly surprised to find that Sangareee did not torture or murder or rob from us — fellow Tamils) Of course when racist politics is whipped up, people who talk sense are pushed to the background (as did happen to progressive people amongst Sinhalese as well) — perhaps that is rejection in the short term, but it certainly is a reminder that a lot more work needs to be done to win over the population that has sufferred so much. Disappointingly, the government’s efforts along these lines are at best half-hearted, and are also seriously undermined by being channelled through some ex-war lords.

    @Yapa
    Please read again what you have told me in this thread: You claim you are telling lies to counter the lies of the other side, and insist on sticking to that mode of operation. Lets just agree to differ — bye for now.

  • http://srilankalandoftheblind.blogspot.com/ Presi Dunce Bean

    The ‘Majority’ of the majority should finally realize that Sri Lanka does not belong to ‘ONLY’ the Sinhala Buddhists! There is only a tiny minority of Sinhala Buddhists who agree that Sri Lanka is a multi cultural, multi religious and multi ethnic country!
    The day when this idea permeates into the majorities heads will be the day when we have real peace…and not the ‘kind of a peace’ that we have now! It’s no use just spouting the mantras…”Sinhala…Demala…Muslim…Burgher!” “We are one country, one people,” etc. You also have to believe it to be so! They say that there is no right or wrong, only thinking makes it so! Now the ball is in the majorities court. But sadly I know that things will not change in our lifetime because the majority are sooo steeped in the Mahavamsa. So there.

    ps: I am not a Tamil. But nevertheless a minority.

  • BalangodaMan

    Mr Yapa,

    I don’t get your Iranian/American connection.

    Let me clarify. Our identity as ‘Sinhalese’ (at least among the chauvinistic) is that we are ‘not Tamil’. And we define ‘Tamil’ as ‘the people whose ancestry is from South India’. Our DNA shows that 75% of our ancestors are from South India, from the same population from whom the ‘Tamils’ descend. Therefore, we the Sinhalese are from the same ancestral stock as the Tamils.

    The two groups Sinhalese and Tamil are different today because of assimilation. Those that lived in the Tamil speaking parts assimilated into the Tamil speaking society, just as people in Colombo assimilated into an English speaking society during the British rule.

    My point was that differentiating us on the basis of geographical origins is invalid as we are all predominantly from the same place and our more recent ancestors obtained our ‘race’ after setting in Lanka, depending on where they chose to live.

    To put it in another way, there may well have been a group of 700 men who arrived together 2,500 years ago from somewhere other than South India. However, little evidence of their existence remains in our DNA today. Instead the overwhelming evidence in our DNA is that we are the same people, from the same place.

    To make it even simpler Mr Yapa, how many great-great-great-etc-grandfathers and grandmothers did you and all of us (Sinhalese and Tamil) have 2,500 years ago? Well, hundreds of thousands. Of these, the DNA evidence shows that 75% of these, our grandfathers/mothers who lived at that time, lived in South India. What % do you think goes back to these 700 men?
    The evidence directly contradicts the popular notion that we are two distinct groups from our genetic origin.

    Coming back to your Iranian/American – if Americans defined themselves (chauvinistically even) as being ‘people who are not from Iran’ and then if DNA evidence showed that all Americans descend predominantly from Iranian ancestry then you have a point. Do you have evidence that all Americans are 75% Iranian by descent? (or is this similar to your still unproven quantum physics theories?).

    If you, Mr Yapa, have your DNA analysed you will find that 75% of your ancestors who lived 2,500 years ago lived in South India. When you do find out please let us know here. Thanks!

  • Belle

    Yapa,
    “This way hard realities can be defeated with soft myths. For example people all over the world believe against their eye witness that all humans are born equal. But if such people are asked to show two similar people, they will turn the world upside down and after a couple of years they would say they didn’t meet any.”

    The problem is that you rely on “eye witness”. Human genetic variation is highly visible. But genetic similarities are less visible. Nevertheless, human beings are said by scientists to be 99.9% similar, genetically. Whatever genetic differences we have are contained in that .1%.

    If you go by “eye witness”, you’d still believe the world is flat and that the sun revolved around the earth. What you term “hard realities” are often errors of perception.

    Laws are “soft myths”. Laws against murder occur on the premise that a society can be murder-free, that it is possible for everyone to follow the rules. Yet it is a “hard reality” that people do break the rules and commit murder. So, should we dispense with the law because it is a “soft myth”?

    “Soft myths” make hard realities possible and shape them. Without so much power being given to the Executive President in your Constitution, Rajapakse could not have become tyrannical. Countries with anti-racism laws have societies that tend to be less racist than countries without such legislation. If a society believes in superiority of one race over another, it is more likely to carry out harm and genocide against people of an allegedly inferior race. It is “soft myths” that led to the “hard reality” of the Holocaust.

    “We deceive ourselves with pleasurable ideas. It is convenient.”

    One such pleasurable and convenient idea of yours is that Sinhalese have been the majority in the south for at least 2500 years and that they had been the majority in other parts of Sri Lanka for over 1500 years. Genetic studies indicate that Sinhalese and Tamils are strangely similar genetically. That suggests that they intermarried a lot and also that they may have similar geographical origins. Intermarriage on a large scale leading to genetic similarities suggest that the people of that time did not believe in race though they may have held religion to be an identity marker. Buddhism evolved from Hinduism, and lots of people converted from Hinduism to Buddhism. I agree with BalangodaMan that what we understand today as “Sinhalese” refers to those (including the many Tamils of the past) who have a Buddhist ancestry (even if they may be Christians today) and who speak the Sinhalese language (which contains borrowings from Tamil and Indo-European languages/dialects), and the Tamils of today are those who remained Hindus (though some converted in more recent generations to Christianity) who kept the Tamil language, and who settled largely in the north. “Race” is a relatively modern concept, developed by the Europeans. As some anthropologists have pointed out, race became an identity marker in SL only through the colonizers, who promoted the concept of being Sinhalese and Tamil, the “soft myths” that led to such harsh realities.

  • yapa

    Dear BalangodaMan;

    Both European Americans and Iranians are Aryans.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear BalangodaMan;

    You say

    “Our identity as ‘Sinhalese’ (at least among the chauvinistic) is that we are ‘not Tamil’.”

    Only you and a few who do not understand fundamental concepts like race, ethnicity will say Sinhalese are Tamils. Again my advice to you is please get some awareness subjects before engage in a discussion. Sorry, I cannot waste my time explaining/discussing basic things with you.

    Bye!

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear Heshan;

    You say;

    I very clearly said that Mahavamsa does not provide any such evidence. It only makes a claim.

    Answer:
    No unbiased man say so. So many chronicles corroborate with Mahawamsa, Thousands of Archeological sites in Sri Lanka support what is mentioned in Mahawamsa. All the historical places mentioned in Mahawansa in Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Dambadeniya, Kandy , Kurunegala etc. etc. are physically available even today. Many historically important places India were spotted on the information of Mahawamsa. There are ancient writings in Burma, China that tally with the descriptions in Mahawamsa. Consistency of the narratives in the Mahawamsa covering such a big period of is an evidence for its credibility. It is natural any book to have lapses. But Mahawamsa provides very credible evidence than any such book of the world.

    You are calling these are not evidence? These are only claims? What a peculiar way of thinking you have? Who taught these white lies? I cannot believe it.

    You say;

    1.What evidence do you have to negate it.

    The most obvious evidence is common sense.

    Answer:
    Then you admit that there is no any evidence other than common sense to negate the evidence given in the Mahavamsa, Deepavamsa, Culavamsa?

    You asy;

    There is no architectural evidence to indicate that Sinhalese were the dominant group in the North and East of Sri Lanka. If there were many palaces, dagobas, and Buddha statues, such as we see in Anuradhapura and Polannaruwa, then one could claim that the Sinhalese presence in the North and East of Sri Lanka is significant.

    Answer: There are so many, hundreds. I don’t think there are many ancient Hindu architectural evidence as much as Buddhist architectural evidence in North and East. How come you forgot famous Kandarodei (Kadurugoda)? I will give some evidence from one of your scholars, this also confirms that your theory that Tamils the majority of North and East for over 1000years.

    Please read, these are “evidence”. If you want I will give you a lot more. Castles should not be built on weak foundations!

    http://www.groundviews.org/2010/02/12/going-beyond-sarath-fonseka-in-achieving-democracy-for-people/#comment-14840

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Correction…….

    this also confirms that your theory that Tamils the majority of North and East for over 1000years is “incorrect”.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Ho! Ho!!

    Now the order of the day argument is there is no difference between Sinhalese and Tamils. What a marvelous discovery. Yes, good, please make a report to submit to the parliament about this valuable information. Ask them to make all future plans on this. All party conference also must be immediately informed.

    You can be very happy about your discoveries. Please throw a big party.

    Mansions in the sky!

    Please try to be sensible and realistic without just filling forums with fantasies..

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear Belle;

    You have criticized my statement [My belief is in “Unity in Diversity” not “Unity in Rejecting Diversity”.] without mentioning it

    Really are you against the above statement?

    Thanks!

  • Belle

    Yapa,

    “You have criticized my statement [My belief is in “Unity in Diversity” not “Unity in Rejecting Diversity”.] without mentioning it
    Really are you against the above statement? ”

    No, I am not against that statement. But you seem to be! What is all your talk about Sinhalese having been in SL far longer than Tamils but an attempt to reject diversity? you can’t have “unity in diversity” by trying to establish a hierarchy between groups, or trying to prove that one group has more claim to the country than others.

  • MG

    Yapa,
    “Both European Americans and Iranians are Aryans.”

    What does that mean? That they have white skin, blue/green eyes and are fair-haired? That they should have joined forces with the Germans in killing Jews? How is that racial classification relevant to anything? Are you saying that all the very different historical and cultural differences in development that Americans and Iranians have been through mean nothing? That essentially all human beings are different or the same only in terms of their race?

    “Only you and a few who do not understand fundamental concepts like race, ethnicity will say Sinhalese are Tamils.”

    Yapa, you don’t understand that race is not the same as ethnicity. Race is a biological concept, and ethnicity is cultural. They have totally different referents. Somebody can be genetically Tamil, but ethnically Sinhalese. Also, you don’t seem to grasp that race is a “fiction”, a construct. What does it mean, for example, to say that all Sinhalese are of the same race? The only way they are all alike is in their brown skin colour, and even then they are not of the same shade. Some have big noses, some have small; some have big eyes, others have small eyes, etc. Do you really want to place all that importance on skin colour?

    It would be good if you would set aside ancient texts for a while and try to read something published today. Then you won’t end up scolding and belittling the ideas of people who are more up to speed on race theory than you are.

  • Heshan

    Dear Yapa:

    Please give an example of five Sinhala-Buddhist sites in the North and East mentioned by Mahavamsa. Thanks.

  • Heshan

    Dear Yapa:

    Read the following carefully:

    As the original Mahavamsa was written in Pali, only a few Sinhalese who knew Pali had access to it until its Sinhala translation appeared in 1877. The Sinhala translation of the original Mahavamsa was later updated and edited in 1935 and then in 1978. The use of the Mahavamsa as a tool for rallying Sinhala Buddhist nationalism started to become widespread as it was interpreted as a true historical chronicle of Sri Lanka and the origin of the Sinhala ethnicity.

    Historians use the Mahavamsa with caution and do not use its narrations as facts of history. Alongside with many myths such as the adults-only tale of princess Suppadevi’s union with a lion and the Indian Emperor Asoka’s son (or relative, according to other records) arriving in Sri Lanka by zooming through the air, obviously were fantasies to glorify Buddhism and, as Wilhelm Geiger thought, due to the author’s Buddhist convictions ‘on account of his priestly mode of viewing things.’

    “Even in translation, the chronicles were difficult to use as historical sources. The Mahavamsa was written hundreds of years after some of the events it describes. Alongside passages that seemed factual – the name of the king or location of his court – were such obviously nonfactual accounts as the story of a person zooming through the air. The Mahavamsa and other chronicles sometimes contradicted one another, with different accounts of Vijaya and his origins, for example. The biggest problem was that the chronicles were written mainly to glorify Buddhism in Sri Lanka, not to record objectively what happened.

    The greatest importance of the Mahavamsa is not as history but as a symbol.- and as a motivating force behind Sinhala Nationalism. A Sinhalese politician speaking in public is likely to mention incidents from Mahavamsa as evidence of the long and distinguished history the Sinhalese have in Sri Lanka. But Sinhalese political and religious leaders also use Mahavamsa stories as evidence that the whole island should be ruled by Sinhalese Buddhists.”

    There are quite a number of discrepancies in the Mahavamsa compared to other historical, archaeological and scientific records. Thus Dr. G.C. Mendis, Lecturer in History, University of Ceylon, in his foreword to the 1950 edition of The Mahavamsa (The Great Chronicle of Ceylon), translated into English by Wilhelm Geiger, assisted by Mable Haynes Bode Ph.D, discusses at length these discrepancies as quoted below. Defrayed by the Ceylon Government Information Department, this edition of the Mahavamsa was published in 1950 (and is available on line at: http://www.sinhalanet.com/Introductionpart1.pdf )

    On the trustworthiness of the Sri Lankan chronicles Dr. Mendis writes:

    “A very trenchant verdict is pronounced by V.A. Smith in his “Asoka”, on the Ceylonese Chronicles. He says in the plainest fashion: ‘in this work ( i.e. in the Asoka) the Ceylonese chronology prior to B.C. 160 is absolutely and completely rejected, as being not merely of doubtful authority but positively false in its principal propositions.’ (V.A. Smith: Asoka the Buddhist Emperor of India, page 57) […]

    “These Sinhalese stories the value of which has been sometimes overestimated, demand cautious criticism at least as much as do other records of popular and ecclesiastical tradition” ( Dr. V.A. Smith: Early history of India, 2nd edition 1908, page 9)

    Dr. Mendis agrees:

    “The warning to handle critically, which the excellent historian considers necessary with regard to the Ceylonese Chronicles, is certainly justified. It applies to all historical documents, and I have no intention at all disputing the justice of it.” ( page XIII , Introduction, Mahavamsa 1950 edition published by the Ceylon Government Information Department)

    According to the Mahavamsa and the Dipavansa, the son (Mahinda) and the daughter (Sangamitta) of the Indian Emperor Asoka were responsible for converting the King of Lanka and his people to Buddhism. However, Dr. V.A. Smith names the story in the Mahavamsa, related to this conversion as nothing but a ’tissue of absurdities’ (V.A. Smith, Asoka page 45)”.

    The Mahavamsa with all its historical importance, enormity and glory, should be only treated as the oldest and longest mythical chronicle, a historical poem written by great creative authors.

    The wild fantasies of ‘Lion Ancestry’ and the myths about the origin of the Sinhala race as pre-destined, true custodians of the island of Sri Lanka and guardians of Buddhism – should be put to rest among the other mythical fairy tales. This needs courage and wisdom from grass root level, as it takes a lot to stand against the nationalistic agenda and the divisive nationalistic culture driven by Sinhala political leadership at the top.

    The sooner we gather courage to start this process, the better it would be for this generation and many generations to come, as this is the only way to save Sri Lanka from the strangling stronghold of the evil twins of nationalism and terrorism on each side of the ethnic divide, and their profiteers.

    [This article written by Dr. Lankamithra Fernando has been published elsewhere earlier. Acceding to a request, the author sent this directly to the FederalIdea]

    http://federalidea.com/focus/archives/76

  • BalangodaMan

    Mr Yapa,

    “Now the order of the day argument is there is no difference between Sinhalese and Tamils. What a marvelous discovery.”

    Now, before you take this argument into nowhere, the point is … the differences that *you* recognise are not relevant to the objective of ‘peace and reconciliation and the way forward’ – the title of this thread.

    The ‘Yapa Criteria for the Future of Sri Lanka’ involves stuff like mistaken notions of our forefathers, superiority of one race over another, language, religion, race, past conflicts – all of which are irrelevant when we come to assess the worth of a human being, and widely considered to be so by all decent people in the world today.

    Peace and reconciliation would require countering attitudes such as this. We are supposed to be better educated than people who lived thousands of years ago. We can excuse them for thinking that the people on the other side of the hill are savages when actually they are their cousins who happen to have different customs. But we today have better insight into who we are, who they are, and how we are all related in one human race.

    Mr Yapa, as long as a section of the population believe (and are taught!) that they are superior over other people *by birth* (you remember you claimed in another thread that this is due to a privileged status earned prior to one’s arrival in one’s life, and even that you can prove how this works via quantum physics) we cannot have harmony in the world. Throughout history every tribe has claimed to be god’s chosen people. Sadly many still do.

    I think you could make a great contribution to the subject of this thread if you would care to explain and expose how you came to hold these extreme polarised views on race. Then perhaps we can look at how to eliminate that from the Sri Lankan mindset going forward, which then can be a basis for peace and reconciliation for future generations. Our children and their children will thank you for it. Who were your teachers? Who were your role models? What lessons did you learn from history?

  • Huh

    Dear Heshan:

    Thank you for posting that article on groundviews, regarding Mahamsa’s reliability and exploitation by Buddhists in Sri Lanka. Also, don’t forget to mention that we CANNOT assume that many of the buddhist monuments/temples were built solely by Sinhalese people. Buddhism was very popular in south india prior to the 13th or 14th century., and there was loads of immigration from Tamil Nadu , Kerala, and Andra Pradesh to sri lanka due to the threat of buddhism dying out in south India.

  • wijayapala

    Dear yapa,

    Again you are writing to others without answering my message on August 9, 2010 @ 10:36 pm. Are you discriminating against Sinhala Buddhists like me? Do you enjoy Professor Heshan’s writings over mine?

    Did you ever read Prof. Indrapala’s recent book as I suggested? It has more up-to-date information on Tamils in ancient SL from his 1965 dissertation.

    I don’t think there are many ancient Hindu architectural evidence as much as Buddhist architectural evidence in North and East. How come you forgot famous Kandarodei (Kadurugoda)?

    What do you think about Dr. Siva’s conclusions:

    http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2010/08/people-and-cultures-of-prehistoric-sri.html

  • wijayapala

    Yapa,

    Now the order of the day argument is there is no difference between Sinhalese and Tamils. What a marvelous discovery.

    Aside from language and to a lesser extent religion, what are the differences between Sinhalese and Tamils?

  • wijayapala

    Professor Heshan,

    The Mahavamsa with all its historical importance, enormity and glory, should be only treated as the oldest and longest mythical chronicle, a historical poem written by great creative authors.

    Did you see my response to Dr. Fernando?

    Mahavamsa Proves That Tamils Have Lived as Long As Sinhalese In The Island
    http://federalidea.com/focus/archives/115

  • yapa

    Dear Belle;

    “No, I am not against that statement. But you seem to be! What is all your talk about Sinhalese having been in SL far longer than Tamils but an attempt to reject diversity? you can’t have “unity in diversity” by trying to establish a hierarchy between groups, or trying to prove that one group has more claim to the country than others.”

    Are you expecting me to accept “Unity in Diversity” by accepting there is no diversity?

    I don’t understand this “Undara Demal”.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear MG;

    My statement ” “Both European Americans and Iranians are Aryans.” was consequent to the following posts of BalangodaMan and some responses of Belle. I think after reading them you will understand my position. You are only saying what I want to say.

    August 11, 2010 @ 8:57 pm
    August 11, 2010 @ 12:44 pm
    August 11, 2010 @ 8:57 pm
    August 11, 2010 @ 9:18 pm
    August 12, 2010 @ 12:58 pm

    My answer was to a person who does not understand the difference between race and ethnicity.

    Thanks for the natural response.

  • yapa

    Dear Wijayapala;

    You say;

    Aside from language and to a lesser extent religion, what are the differences between Sinhalese and Tamils?

    I think I need not give lectures to you to understand the two different concepts of race and ethnicity used in the contemporary literature. There are two concepts because they are not similar. Please see MG’s post above. He is verbally attacking me for not understanding that difference. I thing he will physically attack you after realizing your ignorance.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear Wijayapala;

    You say;

    “Again you are writing to others without answering my message on August 9, 2010 @ 10:36 pm. Are you discriminating against Sinhala Buddhists like me? Do you enjoy Professor Heshan’s writings over mine?”

    I think I did not mean to discriminate, though we hold different views on some issues. But I have a special liking for Heshan, he is an “intelligent brat”. I like his mischief.

    The other most intelligent person I respect most, our friend “Off the Cuff” has been silent for some time.

    Thanks!

  • Heshan

    Did you see my response to Dr. Fernando?

    Did you see the “Dr” before his name? [Edited out] . Most of you prefer to believe Mahavamsa mythology, even when the trend among educated academics is to dismiss such stories as speculation. Unless your monks actually told you this stuff has no merit, you would go on believing it.

    “In any historical research, it is natural for people to change the views and assumptions, because up to now, we have no definite answers to so many unanswered questions in the fields of Archeology, history, anthropology, epigraphy and etymology in Sri Lanka. Furthermore, daily we stumble across several new findings and they contribute to new historical vistas. Therefore, based on new facts, one’s earlier conclusion has to be compromised to adopt changes. History is a continuous process of investigation without any end in sight. For example, for the last 40 years, the Sinhala Buddhist Chauvinists, the Pseudo-historians and bogus scholars (charlatans) have built up a very strong love and affection towards the Tamil PhD student Mr. Karthigesu Indrapala due to his 1965 PhD thesis which was in favor of the Sinhalese. When the well renowned and recognized former History professor of the Jaffna University, the same Prof. Karthigesu Indrapala retired from his profession after 30 years of research as a Senior Archeologist/Historian/epigraphist and a University Don, he settled down in Australia. All those who kept on using the PhD student Mr. Karthigesu Indrapala’s 1965 PhD thesis as a guide in all their writings must have had a heart attack when they read the book what Prof. K. Indrapala published in 2005, 40 years after his 1965 PhD thesis where he says his PhD dissertation is completely out of date that even he does not have a copy of his 1965 PhD thesis what he wrote 40 years ago as a PhD student. Therefore, it is absolutely natural that people change their opinions upon new findings. ”

    http://transcurrents.com/tc/2010/07/a_pragmatic_tamil_consensus_wo.html

  • Heshan

    For example, for the last 40 years, the Sinhala Buddhist Chauvinists, the Pseudo-historians and bogus scholars (charlatans) have built up a very strong love and affection towards the Tamil PhD student Mr. Karthigesu Indrapala due to his 1965 PhD thesis which was in favor of the Sinhalese.

    Readers should note that “Wijayapala” falls into this category. He keeps parroting the name of Indrapala.

  • Heshan

    Dear Huh,

    Thanks for the heads-up. I don’t know much about the so-called “Tamil Buddhists”, unfortunately. I have never met a Tamil Buddhist in my entire life.

  • BalangodaMan

    Mr Yapa has avoided Wijayapala’s question below.

    “Aside from language and to a lesser extent religion, what are the differences between Sinhalese and Tamils?”

  • BalangodaMan

    Mr Yapa,

    To clarify, in your answer to Wijayapala you only talk about the difference between race and ethnicity (which itself is lifted off a previous contributor). You have avoided answering why you feel there is a big difference between you and your Tamil brothers.

    Let me help you. Today, Sinhalese people are the people think they are Sinhalese people, and Tamil people are the people who think they are Tamil people. That’s all.
    Beyond that we are the same.

  • Huh

    Dear Heshan:

    Wijyapala was referring to Indrapala’s book Evolution of An Ethnic Identity that was released a few years ago, where indrapala himself announces that his thesis is out of date. That book is based on entirely new research/findings. South india was a hotbed of buddhism for sometime, but it died out due to the spread of the shaivism–according to the book, this is true of the northern part of sri lanka as well, which was heavily influenced by south india and the final nail in the coffin of buddhism in northern sri lanka was the chola invasions which secured a population that identified itself as tamil and hindu in the northern areas(I believe this is what the book states).

  • Belle

    Yapa,

    “Are you expecting me to accept “Unity in Diversity” by accepting there is no diversity?

    People can be equal but different. Your notion of diversity is that of hierarchical diference. That has no potential to unify people, so I don’t know how you can claim that you are for “unity in diversity”.

  • ModVoice

    Travelling Academic,

    ” Your question “what has he achieved?” is best answered by looking in a mirror and asking yourself “what did the LTTE actually achieve for the Tamils?” (If you do a simple comparison using known facts, you might be pleasantly surprised to find that Sangareee did not torture or murder or rob from us — fellow Tamils)”

    What did LTTE achieve?
    Well if you insist on a comparison, LTTE at the peak of their powers ran a de facto state and possessed the military might for the government to come to a compromise, whereas Anandasangaree could not even get a permit to see the IDPs at the immediate aftermath of the war. How many Tamil detainees did Sangaree manage to free with his letters to the President? To put it in simple terms, his value is naught – only ever reason he is brought to the fore is for his anti-LTTE views.

    The fact is Anandasangaree, TNA, or any campaigning for Tamil rights or devolution, regardless of their views of LTTE, stand no chance or are insignificant when it comes to the mainstream Sri Lankan politics. The last election was quite a testimony to this, in which majority of the voters have given mandate for development over issues affecting the minorities, including political solution – it should be noted that both the main parties campaigned on those grounds although they differed on foreign policies among few other things, else they had to risk the majority of the votes. Until Sinhalese progressives take control of the politics and the attitudes of the voting mass change, the Tamil people of North and East may as well adjust to a new happy life under military establishments and expect nothing other than to assimilate into the mainstream.

  • yapa

    Dear Heshan;

    Do you think the material evidence found in the Mahawamsa can be rejected by Dr. Fernando? And the material evidence given in his doctoral thesis can be rejected by Prof. Indrapala?

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear Heshan;

    “I have never met a Tamil Buddhist in my entire life.”

    That is the main problem facing the “Tamil Buddhists” theory, Wijayapala and Huh want to build up.

    There are evidence about Indian Tamil Buddhists, but not much about Sri Lankan Tamil Buddhists.

    Hypothetical theories often fail.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear Belle;

    You say;

    “People can be equal but different. Your notion of diversity is that of hierarchical diference. That has no potential to unify people, so I don’t know how you can claim that you are for “unity in diversity”.”

    My intention was not to create a hierarchy, but to be with the reality. To please anybody or for other reason I don’t believe deviating from it. Reality may or may not contain a hierarchy, but that is not my concern. My belief about justice is “giving everybody their due shares” , not undue shares. My belief again is justice should be based on reality, not on emotionally comfortable myths. We cannot arrive at an objective conclusion, if we asses only one side of the problem. We should be realistic.

    Thanks!

  • Belle

    Yapa,
    “My intention was not to create a hierarchy, but to be with the reality. To please anybody or for other reason I don’t believe deviating from it. Reality may or may not contain a hierarchy, but that is not my concern. My belief about justice is “giving everybody their due shares” , not undue shares. My belief again is justice should be based on reality, not on emotionally comfortable myths. We cannot arrive at an objective conclusion, if we asses only one side of the problem. We should be realistic.”

    What is real and what is not real is not as transparent as you think. I also critiqued the way you set up “reality” and “myths” as binary oppositions. They are not opposed–they are related. Lots of so-called “realities” are myths. This is just childish talk to claim that what you perceive is “real” and what others perceive or believe in is “myth”. People who can’t prove their perceptions often resort to saying that they are only being “realistic”, appointing themselves as arbiters of what is realistic.

    As for giving everybody their due shares, under citizenship laws, everyone has equal due share. The question of whether to give anyone their “undue” share doesn’t arise.

  • Krish

    Huh – If I may respond to your earlier reference to Indrapala regarding Buddhism before Chola times, are you referring to Jainism as opposed to Buddhism? Jainism used to be the predominant religion of South India, although Buddhism was existent as well. In today’s TamilNadu, Buddhism existed about 2000 years ago, although likely Jainism had more followers. The decline of Jainism and Buddhism in South India came about in several phases, from region to region with kingdoms to kingdoms. This was also probably because of several philosophers like Shankaracharya, Ramanuja, Madhvacharya, Basavanna etc etc. Strangely, the rise of Hinduism in South India coincided with the decline of Hinduism in Northern India when Muslims (Arabs, Persians, Mongols, Turks, Afghans) invaded. And remember that Shaivism was not the only sub-religion of Hinduism. You also had Vaishavism (I haven’t seen any Vaishnavite Hindus from Srilanka among Tamils interestingly) that had great following among all sections.

    Yapa and Heshan – Talking about Tamil Buddhists, I have come across a few of them India. Very very few. Few and far in between. So, Yapa is right on that point. You may likely see more Tamil Jains than Tamil Buddhists in India for example. The most interesting aspect of Buddhism in India in the last 60 years is this. With so much of caste discrimination going on India (virtually in every single state), the lower-caste folks who are often the victims want to move to other religions. Interestingly, in Northern India (typically Uttar Pradesh) most of these folks end up embracing Buddhism. This is a more voluntary conversion without any missionary (like Christians would) telling them to convert. One of India’s constitutional writers Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar was probably the one who first converted to Buddhism to resist discrimination.

  • BalangodaMan

    Mr Yapa,

    Forgive me for butting in, but when you say “My intention was not to create a hierarchy, but to be with the reality” your statement is steeped in your well-documented mindset that the existence of a hierarchy in SL ‘is the reality’, according to you – that minorities have to bow down to the majority as the true masters as decreed by ancient texts. This is no way forward. A good starting point is the commonalities between all Sri Lankans (as I said, genetically we are all predominantly ‘Tamil’ including you), and universal and unconditional respect for the equalness of all Sri Lankans regardless of race, religion or which part of SL they have lived in in past centuries.

    “My belief again is justice should be based on reality” ??? But Mr Yapa, you are furthest away from reality in this debate, in my view. In fact you are alone in this debate at being far far away from reality.

    For instance, “giving everybody their due shares” should, and does normally mean, everyone having equal rights and benefits. If I read you correctly, your interpretation is ‘the majority should have a larger share due to their majority’. These are two opposite concepts that you confuse into one slogan. Individual rights means, if one wants to be Tamil he should be able to be so and live as such without hindrance. That should be no concern of yours. He should have an equal right to live in peace in SL and counted as an equally valuable citizen as you. As ‘a majority’ we have a duty to exercise our majority to ensure that that is so.

    My dream is that all supremacists of all races in all countries should be allocated a country for themselves, so they can all claim supremacy over each other and have a ball.

  • yapa

    Dear Belle;

    To recap what I say in my last post, I am more concern about “right and wrong” rather than “good and bad”.

    Thanks!

  • http://www.groundviews.org Groundviews

    Comment sent from Krish Varadadesikan to post on this thread:

    Huh – If I may respond to your earlier reference to Indrapala regarding Buddhism
    before Chola times, are you referring to Jainism as opposed to Buddhism?
    Jainism used to be the predominant religion of South India, although Buddhism
    was existent as well. In today’s TamilNadu, Buddhism existed about 2000 years
    ago, although likely Jainism had more followers. The decline of Jainism and
    Buddhism in South India came about in several phases, from region to region with kingdoms to kingdoms. This was also probably because of several philosophers like Shankaracharya, Ramanuja, Madhvacharya, Basavanna etc etc. Strangely, the rise of Hinduism in South India coincided with the decline of Hinduism in Northern India when Muslims (Arabs, Persians, Mongols, Turks, Afghans) invaded.

    And remember that Shaivism was not the only sub-religion of Hinduism. You also had Vaishavism (I haven’t seen any Vaishnavite Hindus from Srilanka among Tamils interestingly) that had great following among all sections.

    Yapa and Heshan – Talking about Tamil Buddhists, I have come across a few of
    them India. Very very few. Few and far in between. So, Yapa is right on that
    point. You may likely see more Tamil Jains than Tamil Buddhists in India for
    example. The most interesting aspect of Buddhism in India in the last 60 years
    is this. With so much of caste discrimination going on India (virtually in
    every single state), the lower-caste folks who are often the victims want to
    move to other religions. Interestingly, in Northern India (typically Uttar
    Pradesh) most of these folks end up embracing Buddhism. This is a more
    voluntary conversion without any missionary (like Christians would) telling them
    to convert. One of India’s constitutional writers Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar was
    probably the one who first converted to Buddhism to resist discrimination.

  • Huh

    Dear Krish:

    Although I wouldn’t say Buddhism was THE largest religion in Tamil Nadu, it did have a big following according to Indrapala’s book. It is likely that many Tamil Buddhists immigrated to Sri Lanka due to Buddhism. This is just according to the book Evolution of an Ethnic Identity. Also, according to Professor Obeysekere of Princeton University, in an email directed to me…well, ok, I’ll just post what he said regarding the east and north of sri lanka, and south indian buddhists:

    ” The East Coast was in fact populated by Keralites, probably around the 13th century or a bit later. They are matrilineal Tamils and Muslims and very likely they came from the matrilineal belt in Kerala. It is also possible that they were Tamil speakers, that is, prior to the development of Malayalam as an independent language of Kerala. There is as yet no way of proving this. As for the north, there is no doubt whatever that there were kingdoms in Jaffna that were Tamil, even though some of the more powerful kings had names like Arya Charavarti – at least from the 14th century. Also remember that Sri Lanka in the 9th and 10 centuries were a part of the Chola empire under Rajaraja 1 and Rajendra until Kitti (Vijayabahu 1) from Ruhuna raised the standard of revolt and reoccupied Anuradhapura. Note also that Tamils mercernaries known as Vellakaras guarded the tooth and bowl relic at A’pura. Finally, one must not assume that all Keralites and Tamils were “Hindu” because Tamil natu and Kerala, until around the 14th century and occasionally later, had important centers of Buddhism. Sri Rahula’s pirivena at Totagamuva taught Tamil and Tamil Buddhists came there to study. In the Sinhala areas also Tamil, Kerala and generally South Indian migrations were very common but they simply became Sinhalas and Buddhists. All the castes of the coastal areas of the Western part of Sri Lanka were post 16th century Tamil migrants, those settling in the Sinhala areas became Sinhala and those settling in theTamil areas north of Mannar became Tamil. ”

    Sorry, it was just hard to pick through the email lol so I decided to post what he said in its entirety.

  • yapa

    “as I said, genetically we are all predominantly ‘Tamil’ including you”

    That shows your knowledge.

    “Genetics doesn’t show all human beings are alike, but the opposite. That is why DNA tests are possible. It concentrates on a unique character of an individual.

    I feel you prefer to depend on emotions than facts.

    My belief is “good and bad” should be based on “right and wrong” not the other way round.

    As usual you seem to misunderstand what I say.

    Thanks!

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear Belle;

    I think you have uplifted the discussion to a philosophical plane. Therefore I would like to answer the queries arisen from your last post in that plane.

    Q: What is real and what is not real is not as transparent as you think.

    A: In general it is so. But in the subject area we are talking, that is basically History , evidence support the reality and not myth. From that we can differentiate reality and myth.

    Q: I also critiqued the way you set up “reality” and “myths” as binary oppositions. They are not opposed–they are related.

    A: Again in a very deep sense it may be so. But most of the times, especially in the subjects of the material world they are binary opposites. “They are oppositely related”.

    Q: Lots of so-called “realities” are myths.

    A: This is beyond my understanding, I suppose.

    QThis is just childish talk to claim that what you perceive is “real” and what others perceive or believe in is “myth”.

    A: I have mentioned the criterion above. You can measure it and see again whether what I said is childish or not. (My aim is not value judgments)

    Q: People who can’t prove their perceptions often resort to saying that they are only being “realistic”, appointing themselves as arbiters of what is realistic.

    A: May be true but not essentially.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear BalangodaMan;

    “For instance, “giving everybody their due shares” should, and does normally mean, everyone having equal rights and benefits.”

    Then give your baby a shot of alcohol, a fag and bring him a woman home. He also then will have equal rights and benefits.

    You never understood what I have said in earlier occasions, and I feel it will continue unchanged.

    Thanks!

  • BalangodaMan

    Mr Yapa,

    “I am more concern about “right and wrong” rather than “good and bad”.
    A profound statement, however I wonder what it means?

    We are all concerned about ‘right and wrong’. The problem is, ‘right and wrong’ are subjective. We’re discussing objective principles, specifically what constitutes right and wrong when it comes to bringing about peace and reconciliation going forward in SL, taking heed of what you consider to be ‘right’ and exploring the opposite argument that what you consider to be ‘right’ is in the opinion of many quite ‘wrong’. That the mindset you display is the very obstacle to peace and reconciliation in our beautiful island.

  • BalangodaMan

    Mr Yapa,

    “Do you think the material evidence found in the Mahawamsa can be rejected by Dr. Fernando? And the material evidence given in his doctoral thesis can be rejected by Prof. Indrapala?”

    No material evidence has been found to support the The Mahawamsa that a nation was founded by a group of non-Dravidian people. Instead there is verifiable material evidence that the nation we have today is predominantly composed of descendants from South Indian people and no trace of this relatively small group that the Mahawamsa speaks of exists in SL.

    Every country in history had invasions and invaders, as well as (friendly/non-aggressive) migration. The shear numbers over many centuries ensure that, and result in, the general population being composed of mainly these people. For example, in English history we hear of invasions by the Vikings as if these were foreigners. Well, they were … at the time. But the great majority of the genes of the people who live in the north of the UK are from the Vikings. So what they see as ‘foreign’ is actually ‘themselves’.

    So, coming back to your evidence argument, the evidence is wholely against your argument. The only evidence that we have from the Mahawamsa regarding this early period (written some 900 years after the events! .. and with what records?) is that evidently there was a need in the society of that time to glorify the past of the particular faction the author(s) belonged to, or most likely were commissioned by. This is a common scenario in the recording of ‘history’ anywhere, in all times in history (even now!).

    You are hell bent on favouring the evidence that someone who lived 1,500 years ago supposedly had (?), which we do not have now and cannot therefore examine, and which we doubt if he even had in any reliable form, while ignoring the hard evidence we DO have in the laboratory in the present day, and all of us carry in our genes and is therefore verifiable.

  • yapa

    Dear Huh;

    Is there anything new in your post other than what I have been telling throughout. Does it say Dravidians came to Sri Lanka before Sinhalese or in the same boat with them? Does it say anything about Davidian influence before the 9th century? Does it suggest Tamils are responsible for Buddhist monuments in the North and East?

    What objectives are you expecting to achieve from your post?

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear BalangodaMan

    “We know that research conducted at Stamford University (1996?) shows that we the Sinhalese are 75% of South Indian origin, according to our DNA. So the divisions are not about from whom we descend – South Indians people, same as the people who we call Tamil. Just that some of us were told we are ‘Sinhalese’ and others that they are ‘Tamil’.”

    Can you please provide me with some details of the above research?

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear BalangodaMan;

    Do you think subjects like Archeology, History, Literature, Culture etc. etc. are useless subjects? Carbon Dating is an unwanted technology?

    DNA technology also would be useless, because it would prove that each individual is different from all others. Isn’t it?

    Thanks!

  • Belle

    Yapa,

    “In general it is so. But in the subject area we are talking, that is basically History , evidence support the reality and not myth. From that we can differentiate reality and myth.”

    Firstly, something must be true in all specific instances in order to be generally true. So history can’t be an exception to the general truth, otherwise it would disprove that generality.

    Secondly, take a look at Huh’s citation of Professor Obeysekere of Princeton University on the issue of Tamil Buddhists in Sri Lanka. Notice such words as “probably”, “very likely”, “also possible that”, “There is as yet no way of proving this”, and “one must not assume”. This professional historian from Princeton, no less, uses the language of uncertainty in talking about the past, but you seem very certain. You must be the professor’s professor to have all the answers! History is a humanities or social science subject. That is, it is NOT a science. Some scholars show that though there may be physical evidence of the past (artefacts, texts, buildings, etc), which is obviously “real”, the interpretation of such “evidence” falls into the realm of the mythic. The writing of history has been shown to be similar in narrative form and strategy to literature.

    “Again in a very deep sense it may be so. But most of the times, especially in the subjects of the material world they are binary opposites. “They are oppositely related”.”

    If “reality” is “myth” in a deep sense, but not in other senses, then may I conclude that at the superficial level, i.e. that of appearances, “reality” pretends to be not “mythic”? But you are always holding traffic with the world of appearances, of that which appears real.

    “This is beyond my understanding, I suppose.”

    No, it isn’t. One very good example of something that appeared to be “real” but was in fact a mere myth was the belief that the world was flat. Race is also a myth though it appears to be a reality.

  • Krish

    Huh – Thanks for your response. The theories advocated by Indrapala and Obeyesekara could be true in general, but in specifics there could be exceptions. Moreover, it is hard to prove today about what possibly happened 2000 years ago.

    The early works in Tamil were predominantly Jain or Buddhist related. For example, out of the five great epics of Tamil, Kundalakesi and Manimegalai were Buddhist/Buddhism-based epics. The other three, Silappathikaram, Valayapathi and Cheevaksinthamani were Jain-related. Many of the earliest Tamil scholars including Thiruvalluvar were Jains and some of them probably Buddhist. So, it is quite likely that around 1000 years ago, when South India (TamilNadu in particular) started embracing Hinduism big time, many Buddhists fled to other parts. So, that theory could be true as well. Also, it is very likely that South India (Tamil Nadu in particular) had embraced Buddhism before Srilanka did.

    But what makes it awefully tough to verify all these is the absence of Buddhism among Tamils today on both sides. Although I have come across very very few Tamil Buddhists in India, I don’t know what their origins are. They could have come from Karnataka or Gujarat for instance. And there are not very many Buddhist temples in Tamil Nadu other than Chudamani Vihara that Rajaraja Chola I built 1000 years ago in Nagapattinam.

  • Krish

    Huh – You probably know about these links! I recently came across these links myself. These articles cover Buddhism in Tamil Nadu in the last 2000 years or so. The first one by a Tamil gentleman from Srilanka and the next two by a Sinhala gentleman writing from Chennai.

    http://www.sangam.org/2009/06/Tamil_Buddhists.php

    http://www.lakehouse.lk/mihintalava/gaya05.htm
    http://www.lakehouse.lk/mihintalava/gaya07.htm

    Seems to me that Sinhala and Tamil folks have so much of shared history, especially from a religious viewpoint. What is unclear to me is how, Buddhism ended up as a religion of Sinhalas only (not to mention that HInduism ended up as Tamil-only religion).

    PS: I am an Indian and so my understanding of Srilanka could be poor. So, please bear with me. And I reckon this is SL web-site and I have been taking enough space here. :)

  • Heshan

    Dear Yapa:

    Do you think the material evidence found in the Mahawamsa can be rejected by Dr. Fernando? And the material evidence given in his doctoral thesis can be rejected by Prof. Indrapala?

    If you read all of my above posts, you will see that according to De. Fernando, even most Sinhalese academics (historians) working at the university level have rejected Mahavamsa as a source of objective material. Only individuals like Nalin De Silva would make a case for Mahavamsa, but Nalin De Silva is a scientist, not a historian.

  • wije

    Dear yapa

    I don’t understand this “Undara Demal”.

    It seems we’re at an impasse, as some of us do not understand your “Undara Sihala.”

    I think I need not give lectures to you to understand the two different concepts of race and ethnicity used in the contemporary literature.

    No need for lectures. Just tell me in plain language what are the differences between Sinhalese and Tamils, other than language and religion.

    But I have a special liking for Heshan, he is an “intelligent brat”. I like his mischief.

    I am sure Prof Heshan appreciates your kind words, but make sure to verify his claims. Just because he hasn’t met a Tamil Buddhist doesn’t mean they do not exist. Heshan has not seen his own brain; that does not mean necessarily that he lacks one.

    Education Minister Prevents Tamil Girl Admission To Sinhala School
    http://transcurrents.com/tamiliana/archives/546

    “Instead, the little 10-year old seems fated to become a household name because the government has denied her access into Vishaka Vidyalaya on grounds of nothing more than her ethnicity. Nethmi Yogendra is a Tamil. And a Buddhist. Her father, also a Tamil Buddhist, schooled at Ananda College Colombo. During her short life as a student at President’s College, Nawala, Nethmi has studied in the Sinhalese medium.”

    There are evidence about Indian Tamil Buddhists, but not much about Sri Lankan Tamil Buddhists.

    Are you talking about today, or hundreds of years ago when Kantarodai stupas were constructed? If there are few SL Tamil Buddhists today, it may be because 1) they assimilated to become Sinhala Buddhists or 2) they converted to Hinduism.

  • wije

    Balangoda Man

    No material evidence has been found to support the The Mahawamsa that a nation was founded by a group of non-Dravidian people. Instead there is verifiable material evidence that the nation we have today is predominantly composed of descendants from South Indian people and no trace of this relatively small group that the Mahawamsa speaks of exists in SL.

    The Mahavamsa does not use terms such as “Dravidian” or “non-Dravidian.” There is no “race.” Instead the text refers to linguistic (“Damila”), religious (“Buddhist”), or dynastic (“Sinhala”) loyalties. The history of the Sinhala language supports the Mahavamsa’s claims that the first Sinhalese had come from the Kalinga region.

    You may have missed my comment to Prof Heshan where in another thread I ironically cited the Mahavamsa to argue to yapa that the first Sinhalese were Indian outsiders and not the original inhabitants.

    When I asked yapa what are the differences between Sinhalese and Tamils, I was not talking merely about race or genetics. I was referring to the mentality.

  • wije

    Prof Heshan

    Did you see the “Dr” before his name?

    Lankamithra Fernando has a PhD in Technical Sciences, not History, Archaeology, Linguistics, etc. He is the General Manager of Science & Technology Workshop Services in the University of Sydney. So neither his education nor his employment give him any special insight into SL history more or less than the rest of us.

    Mervyn Silva apparently also has a “Dr” before his name. Should we take his statements seriously as well?

    “[Edited out]”

    Come on Heshan, no need to use such un-academic language here! ;-)

    Most of you prefer to believe Mahavamsa mythology, even when the trend among educated academics is to dismiss such stories as speculation.

    You have yet to provide any kind of alternative chronology to explain Sri Lankan history. The Mahavamsa answers two important questions of the origins of 1) Buddhism and 2) Sinhala language in SL. And as I pointed out earlier, it actually demolishes Sinhala nationalist arguments by showing that the original Sinhalese were Indian immigrants to SL just like the Tamils.

  • BalangodaMan

    Thanks to Huh for posting the email from Professor Obeysekere of Princeton University in its entirety.

    Mr Yapa, you will see that the Professor explains it better than me, and being a Professor he is well read – which you are not. (They didn’t tell that) The whole of the Western coastal areas of SL are predominantly descendants of migrants from South India (including mercenaries that came to fight battles for our people) and of course the colonisers, Portuguese, Dutch and British. The Tamil migrants who settled in Sinhalese areas assimilated into the Sinhalese ethnicity and now are the Sinhalese people. My family are ‘Sinhalese Buddhist’ from the coastal South and West.

    The research by Kshatriya is at Stamford University.
    ^ a b Kshatriya GK (December 1995). “Genetic affinities of Sri Lankan populations”. Human Biology 67 (6): 843–66. PMID 8543296.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_studies_on_Sinhalese
    [quote - Wikipedia]
    Predominantly Tamil origin

    According to a genetic admixture study by Dr. Gautam K. Kshatriya performed in 1995, the Sinhalese have their origins in South India and North-East India, particularly Tamil Nadu and West Bengal . Due to relatively easy access from South India and Tamil workers being brought from South India under British rule, mixing of the Tamil and Sinhalese groups has been occurring for many generations. The Sinhalese and Sri Lankan Tamils have been in close proximity to each other historically, linguistically, and culturally for over 2000 years. For example, the Sinhalese and South Indian Tamils have similar cultures in terms of kinship classification, cousin marriage, dress and housing.[6] This explains Kshatriya’s findings of a common gene pool of 55%.[1]
    Kshatriya found the Sinhalese had the greatest contribution from South Indian Tamils (69.86% +/- 0.61), followed by Bengalis from the North East India (25.41% +/- 0.51). Similarly, Sri Lankan Tamils have a greater contribution from the Sinhalese of Sri Lanka (55.20% +/- 9.47) than Indian Tamils (16.63% +/- 8.73). The study also suggested that 75% of Sinhalese genes have Tamil admixture and the Sinhalese have the least genetic affinity with North Western Indians.[4]
    A blood genetic marker study also found the Sinhalese to be most closely related to the Tamils.[2]
    [unquote]

    Mr Yapa! Why waste time speculating? Why not have your own genetic origins analysed? If DNA had been discovered in the 1930s Hitler might have found that he is in fact largely a Jew. Still, it is possible that you, Mr Yapa, is the one and the only pure descendant from Vijaya’s retinue existing today, in which case I would put you in a glass case and have you on display at the Colombo Museum. Or even better have you stuffed.

    If you disagree with the quote above there’s no point complaining about it here. Complain to the academics, the scientists, and Wikipedia. Or just sue them!
    Good luck.

  • BalangodaMan

    (They didn’t tell that) should read (They didn’t tell YOU that)

  • Heshan

    The Mahavamsa answers two important questions of the origins of 1) Buddhism and 2) Sinhala language in SL. And as I pointed out earlier, it actually demolishes Sinhala nationalist arguments by showing that the original Sinhalese were Indian immigrants to SL just like the Tamils.

    Neither the origins of Buddhism in S. Lanka, nor the origins of the Sinhala language in S. Lanka prove that Sinhalese came to the island first, which is the argument used against Tamil homeland claims. The nationalists never argued that Sinhalese are native to the island (everyone accepts that Veddahs are native); what they argue is that Tamils are invaders, and use Mahavamsa to back up this claim. Ironically you have side-stepped this issue altogether and actually misconstrued the Sinhalese nationalist viewpoint, in a desperate (albeit pathetic) attempt to defend Mahavamsa.

    Let me quote two of your nationalist comrades to prove my point that they don’t deny Indian origins:

    “The progenitors of us Sinhalese were the Aryans of ancient India…. This is established by history. Our ways and customs are derived accordingly. The rituals and customs found among most of us are not different from those found among the Aryans of India.”

    - W. Arya Dharmawardhana

    “The Sinhalese first came to this country from Bengal and the Bengalis are superior in their intelligence to other communities in India.”

    - Anagarika Dharmapala

    http://books.google.com/books?id=x8NQrTmjpRcC&pg=PA145&lpg=PA145&dq=Anagarika+Dharmapala,+Sinhalese+Aryans&source=bl&ots=1xTraoMcA3&sig=4_UaBYcTUat1wTw1rlCkP03Gzi0&hl=en&ei=jPNoTNW_O4L78AbZh_GzBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CB8Q6AEwAzgK#v=onepage&q=Anagarika%20Dharmapala%2C%20Sinhalese%20Aryans&f=false

  • BalangodaMan

    Wije,

    Yes thanks, somewhat unclever choice of words on my part. What I was trying to convey is the nationalist Sinhalese idea that the ‘Sinhalese are not Tamil as a race’ (their interpretation of the Mahawamsa story in relation to present day Sinhalese) and that that’s a myth.

  • BalangodaMan

    Heshan,

    I don’t think anyone disputes the idea that the inhabitants of SL before the western colonisers were migrants from the Indian Subcontinent. The disagreement is about whether the Sinhalese and Tamils are two distinct races, or whether the distinction is only ethnic. (which is why I said ‘the Sinhalese are those that regard themselves to be such, and Tamils are those that regard themselves to be such’, their racial origins being the same).

    I think I can see where Mr Yapa is coming from. When I was a boy I too believed that my parents and their parents and so on are ‘pure Sinhalese’ like everyone else around us. I believed that this purity extended back to the Vijaya landing legend (which I then believed to be factual). But that was way before I grew up and learned to read and use my critical faculties. Then in the late 1980s came the ‘Out of Africa’ theory of human migration. This was the last nail in the coffin. I no longer believe in the lion story.

  • BalangodaMan

    Mr Yapa,

    History and Myth
    —————————–
    Maybe this might help differenciate ‘history’ from myth.

    I too had this problem as a schoolboy (many schoolboy stories coming out now). ‘History’ had already happened. Therefore, we were told that all we are learning about are facts – as opposed to science experiments in the lab when we were trying to find out something we many not yet know.

    Actually history is not fact. Although what actually happened actually happened (!) we simply don’t know what it was. We cannot know it because we were not there. All we have is pieces of evidence that is continuing to be discovered and continuing to be critically analysed, making what we understand about the past evolve and get refined through time. In other words, history (quite apart from being ‘fact’) is in reality … unfolding. Today we are closer to knowing about the past than the people who lived hundreds of years ago. We and our successors in the future will know more about the ancient times of Vijaya than the Mahawamsa authors – through archeology and the Human Genome Project and other discoveries that are not yet known to us.

    The Human Genome Project is as groundbreaking as the discovery that the Earth is not flat. Or that the planets revolve around the Sun. Until just 25 years ago it was commonly thought that races evolved independantly, which accounts for the physical and other visible variations among our fellow humans. Our predessors even thought different races were like different species (during slavery the Vatican decreed that Africans are not humans, that they do not have souls). Even our ancestors in SL regarded the white colonisers as some sort of higher form, another species perhaps, certainly of different origins.

    You should read about the ‘Out of Africa’ theory, which is widely accepted now. In brief, the Human Genome Project proves that all humans in the entire world outside Africa are descendants of just 2 groups of people who left Africa (yes black and looking like Desmond Tutu) about 80,000 years ago from near Somalia across the sea that was in low tide at that time. Our distinctive physical appearances emerged from the environment in which they settled – those that migrated (over tens of thousands of years) to Mongolia and then to North America over Russia/Alaska have that chinese look (35,000 – 17,000 years ago), becoming more equatorial in appearance getting towards Central and South America, we are brown, Europeans branch of humans became white skinned. (this is known from identifying genetic markers in DNA and from analysing the DNA of all indegenous populations in the world).

    Read about it here. You can contribute to the project (Mr Yapa, unless you have already submitted yourself as an exhibit at the Colombo Museum as a pure Vijayan. See above)
    https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com/genographic/index.html
    There is a DVD by Dr Spencer Wells that narrates the story extremely well. It has an item that is of interest to us as he takes you through how they solved the mystery of how the aborigines reached Australia migrating along the coast of India, which of course passes Lanka – more than 50,000 years ago.

    So what has this to do with peace and reconciliation is SL? The divisions between the two factions largely originate because our ancestors did not not understanding who we are (they couldn’t have), and some using myths and legends as facts for political gain and war mongering. In reality, as far we know today, the Sinhalese and Tamils are the same race (Mr Yapa, only you seem to think otherwise in this debate). This story also helps see the difference between History and Myth. I went to school long before the Out of Africa discovery. We thought what we were taught was fact. So did the teachers. Now we know it is myth and legend as the facts we now have do not support what we were taught. (similar to the illustration from Belle regardging the flat Earth which was verifiable as flat as far as ancient people could determine).

    When we talk about Sinhalese, Tamil Buddhists etc we are really talking about what those people identified themselves as, for various reasons, their choice (eg. assimilation), nothing more. It is a nonsense to read a deeper meaning as if these groups are from different planets, or are difference species.

    Mr Yapa, I was hoping you will have explained the difference between Sinhalese people and Tamil people in terms other than ‘who they think they are’ (who they regard themselves to be), but you have not as yet.

  • wije

    Prof Heshan

    Thank you for using more civilized language in your responses. I am proud of you.

    If you read all of my above posts, you will see that according to De. Fernando, even most Sinhalese academics (historians) working at the university level have rejected Mahavamsa as a source of objective material.

    Like who?

    In the field of history, there is no such thing as a source of “objective” material. Historical chronicles, whether in the past or present by their very nature are subjective. That alone does not constitute grounds to reject them as source material.

    but Nalin De Silva is a scientist, not a historian.

    Like Lankamithra Fernando?

    Neither the origins of Buddhism in S. Lanka, nor the origins of the Sinhala language in S. Lanka prove that Sinhalese came to the island first, which is the argument used against Tamil homeland claims.

    Actually the most credible argument against the idea of a historical Tamil homeland (or a separate Tamil kingdom in ancient times) is the lack of any epigraphical or literary evidence of such a homeland in ancient SL. The oldest known Tamil inscription dates to Chola times. Prior to that, Tamil Saiva literature mentions certain holy places near Mannar and Trincomalee, but this does not equate to a separate kingdom.

    It is this lack of any kind of evidence that explains why no historian has or will ever write a history of “Tamil Eelam.” It never existed.

    Opponents of Sinhala nationalism would much better serve their cause instead by showing how the ancient civilizations were not so monoethnically “Sinhala” as often portrayed by the Nalin de Silva types. K. Indrapala’s book does an excellent job demolishing this myth of SL history. It is essentially impossible for the Sinhalese to have a full grasp of their history if they ignore or marginalize the Tamil or “Dravidian” aspects.

  • Travelling Academic

    @ModVoice
    Oh, thank you, ModVoice, thank you very much for reminding us of this de facto state — tell me again, will you, was it post offices they were running, or does the glorious de facto state also include our own torture chambers where our language, Tamil, was spoken exclusively? Our right to be tortured in Tamil, by fellow Tamils, right?

    You could tell me more, please — how was this de facto state achieved and what happened after that? Where is the Eelam they promised to deliver? Where now is the compromise from the government you speak of? Or was our goal simply to achieve a de facto state for a few milliseconds, by whatever means, and then tell stories about it to our grand-children?

    Dear ModVoice, however long a small number of people amongst the Tamil community want to hide their heads in the sand, the sad fact remains that the LTTE phenomenon unleashed a greater amount of brutality on the Tamil population than whatever the racists amongst the Sinhalese had ever planned for us. The sooner we, Tamils, understand that, the greater is the chance of re-building that very nice way of life we once had, from the ashes under which it is all now buried. In my view, progress can only be made by working in partnership with the progressives amongst the Sinhalese, building on the idea of seeking solutions to the common problems faced by all inhabitants of the island: A better life for members of my community (Tamil) to emerge as a side-effect of a better life for everyone in my country (Sri Lanka). And personally, I am pleased to have begun some work, in the hope that my own small contributions, to achieve targets set along the above lines, will resonate well with what Lionel Bopage outlines in his nice speech posted here.

  • yapa

    Dear BalangodaMan;

    “You are hell bent on favouring the evidence that someone who lived 1,500 years ago supposedly had (?), which we do not have now and cannot therefore examine, and which we doubt if he even had in any reliable form, while ignoring the hard evidence we DO have in the laboratory in the present day, and all of us carry in our genes and is therefore verifiable.”

    What do you have to say about these?

    1. The volume of information on the internet is genu-inely astounding. Of course not all, or even a small fraction of it, is true but a great deal of it is certainly interesting.

    The entry in Wikipedia under ‘Sinhala people’ – makes particularly interesting reading. It says, in reasonably technical jargon, that DNA studies conducted by Stanford University in 2003 indicate that the Sinhala people are not descended from north Indian settlers but rather that they can trace their origins to the indigenous people who populated this island circa 12000 BC.

    What this fairly obscure DNA study does therefore is cast doubt on the creation myth central to the identity of the nation’s principle ethnic group; the legend that the Sinhalese people are the descendents of a group of marauding North Indians who arrived on the island on precisely the date of the Buddha’s death.

    2. Predominantly Bengali origin

    An Alu polymorphism analysis of Sinhalese from Colombo by Dr Sarabjit Mastanain in 2007 using Tamil, Bengali, Gujarati (Patel), and Punjabi as parental populations found different proportions of genetic contribution:[5]
    Statistical Method Bengali Tamil North Western
    Point Estimate 57.49% 42.5% -
    Maximum Likelihood Method 88.07% - -
    Using Tamil, Bengali and North West as parenteral population 50-66% 11-30% 20-23%

    A genetic distance analysis by Dr Robet Kirk also concluded that the modern Sinhalese are most closely related to the Bengalis.[3]

    This is further substantiated by a VNTR study, which found 82% of Sinhalese genes to originate from Bengali admixture:[4]
    Parenteral population Bengali Tamil Gujarati Punjabi
    Using Tamil and Bengali as parenteral population 70.03% 29.97% -
    Using Tamil, Bengali and Gujarati as parenteral population 71.82% 16.38% 11.82%
    Using Bengal, Gujarati and Punjabi as parenteral population 82.09% - 15.39% 2.52%

    D1S80 allele frequency (A popular allele for genetic fingerprinting) is also similar between the Sinhalese and Bengalis, suggesting the two groups are closely related.[7] The Sinhalese also have similar frequencies of the allele MTHFR 677T (13%) to West Bengalis (17%).[8][9]
    [edit] Evidence for North Indian origin

    A study in 2007 found similar frequencies of the allele HLA-A*02 in sinhalese (7.4%) and North Indian subjects (6.7%). HLA-A*02 is a rare allele which has a relatively high frequency in North Indian populations and is considered to be a novel allele among the North Indian population. This suggests possible North Indian origin of the Sinhalese.[10]

    Linguistically the Sinhalese are closer to North Indians than South Indians, as the Sinhala language is a member of the Indo-Aryan languages.[11]

    How hard is your hard evidence?

    Thanks!

  • longus

    YAPA

    YOUR FINAL POSTING IS BREATHTAKINGLY INTERESTING!

    Anybody can understand how close the Sinhalese language sounds with the North Indian languages and how distant it sounds with Tamil,apart from the borrowed words

  • Huh

    Dear Travelling Academic:

    It’s great to hear from someone like you on this site! We–the progressive minorities and progressive majority members(i.e. people like me)-need to join together. The fate of Sri Lanka is really in our hands. The biggest failing of post-independence Sri Lanka was how the minority parties and the Sinhalese left never joined together, even though they felt similarly on a number of issues. In the next few decades, the progressive Sinhalese and minorities will need to join together against the racist nationalists.

  • Heshan

    BalangodaMan,

    The disagreement is about whether the Sinhalese and Tamils are two distinct races, or whether the distinction is only ethnic. (which is why I said ‘the Sinhalese are those that regard themselves to be such, and Tamils are those that regard themselves to be such’, their racial origins being the same).

    The disagreement is slightly more than that. The common Sinhalese view is that Tamils are invaders . By invasion is meant that they (Tamils) destroyed the pre-existing Sinhalese civilizations. The only way to justify the invasion theory is to claim that Sinhalese came to the island first (otherwise an invasion would not be possible). Given two groups of people, A and B, group B can *invade* the territory of group A if and only if group A is already occupying the said territory. I hope you can see how everything goes back to this question of “who came to the island first.” Whether or not Sinhalese and Tamils share similar genes is actually irrelevant; the question for our SB nationalists is the question of ownership of the land , and they have justified their stake in the ownership by claiming, via Mahavamsa and such sources, that Tamils are invaders.

  • Heshan

    In the field of history, there is no such thing as a source of “objective” material. Historical chronicles, whether in the past or present by their very nature are subjective. That alone does not constitute grounds to reject them as source material.

    There is an accepted (standard) convention for what constitutes “objective evidence”, within the academic community. I am not going to explain it here, since I doubt you would understand it. Suffice it to say, the Mahavamsa is not accepted as a source of objective material. It does not meet the minimum requirements, as Dr. Mendis (University of Ceylon) pointed out. Now, certain people in orange may have told you differently, but that is irrelevant – they are not the ones who write professional papers or conduct research.

    Actually the most credible argument against the idea of a historical Tamil homeland (or a separate Tamil kingdom in ancient times) is the lack of any epigraphical or literary evidence of such a homeland in ancient SL. The oldest known Tamil inscription dates to Chola times. Prior to that, Tamil Saiva literature mentions certain holy places near Mannar and Trincomalee, but this does not equate to a separate kingdom.

    Showing your true nationalist colors.

    An early historic inscription in Tamil language and in Tamil Brahmi script, dateable to c.200 BCE, has been found in the archaeological excavations by a German team at Tissamaharama in the down south of the island of Sri Lanka. The inscription deciphered by I. Mahadevan as ‘Thira’li Mu’ri,’ which means ‘written agreement of the assembly,’ was incised on an early historic Black and Red Ware pottery. The last letter of the inscription, which is retroflex Tamil ‘Ri’, is very clearly a Tamil phoneme in Tamil Brahmi script, academics commented. The Tamil Brahmi inscription is also found mixed with megalithic or early historic graffiti marks, which were probably the symbols of the guild, they further said. Tissamaharama or ancient Mahaagama is located close to Kathirkaamam (Kataragama), a famous pilgrim centre for Tamils as well as Sinhalese.

    Prakrit and Tamil were the earliest written languages of South Asia.

    The first evidences in these languages, in phonetic writing, appear from c.3rd century BCE.

    Sinhala as an identifiable language appears in inscriptions from c. 8– 9th century CE onwards.

    http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=79&artid=32063

    The fact that Tamil inscriptions pre-date the entire Sinhala language by several centuries speaks volumes in and of itself about who came to the island first.

  • BalangodaMan

    Heshan,

    I agree the question of casting Tamils as invaders is perhaps the greatest flaw in our history education, and the source of the divides and attitudes.

    The answer I think is a U-turn in the teaching of our history. This will not happen as long as some elements of our society wish to maintain that not all citizens of our country are equal. We are the most racist country I have come across, sadly. Most people do not even seem understand the modern concept of ‘racism’.

  • yapa

    Dear BalangodaMan;

    “The answer I think is a U-turn in the teaching of our history. This will not happen as long as some elements of our society wish to maintain that not all citizens of our country are equal. We are the most racist country I have come across, sadly. Most people do not even seem understand the modern concept of ‘racism’.”

    I think you have got confused “facts” with “emotions”. It seems that you have been overwhelmed by your own emotions and imaginations. Please don’t let them over power your critical and analytical thinking. When you got emotional your capacity to think impartially get effected.

    Further, form the very beginning I have been posting many queries about your comments but you haven’t answered them except one query. I think you have a responsibility to answer them. I hope you will answer all of them. To remind you my first query was on August 11, 2010 @ 8:57 pm.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear BalangodaMan;

    “I think I can see where Mr Yapa is coming from. When I was a boy I too believed that my parents and their parents and so on are ‘pure Sinhalese’ like everyone else around us. I believed that this purity extended back to the Vijaya landing legend (which I then believed to be factual). But that was way before I grew up and learned to read and use my critical faculties. Then in the late 1980s came the ‘Out of Africa’ theory of human migration. This was the last nail in the coffin. I no longer believe in the lion story.”

    I have never seen you understanding what I say. You yourself dream of things as my ideas and keep on talking. Who told you that I believe lion story. My view is that Sinhalese are mainly the decedents of pre Wijaya natives, yaksa and Naga. I have given substantiate my view in a debate with wijayapala in a previous discussion.

    It seems that you love emotionally pleasant ideas.

    Further, I think I have answered your repeated quest, “Mr Yapa, I was hoping you will have explained the difference between Sinhalese people and Tamil people in terms other than ‘who they think they are’ (who they regard themselves to be), but you have not as yet.” in my post of August 17, 2010 @ 6:22 am. You can convey the message to its root too.

    Thanks!

  • rajivmw

    BalangodaMan,

    “We are the most racist country I have come across, sadly.”

    You really should travel more.

  • yapa

    Dear Heshan;

    “Sinhala as an identifiable language appears in inscriptions from c. 8– 9th century CE onwards.”

    Taminet is a very reliable source of information, especially wrt Sinhalese!!!! Is this more reliable than Mahawamsa?

    Your consistency seems affected here by some mysterious factor.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear BalangodaMan;

    The base of reconciliation should not be emotions. Pleasant or unpleasant it should be based on facts.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear BalangodaMan;

    “The Human Genome Project is as groundbreaking as the discovery that the Earth is not flat.”

    Your project to replace “ethnicity” by “race” in in Social Sciences is also a groundbreaking discovery. Why don’t you publish this in a Social Science journal. You will definitely get the Nobel prize, if they offer one for Social Sciences. you might even get the peace prize for your profound theory.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear BalangodaMan;

    “In reality, as far we know today, the Sinhalese and Tamils are the same race.”

    This naive idea is a result of your bravery originated from your lack of knowledge.

    Thanks!

  • rajivmw

    Heshan,

    So to prove that the Mahavamsa is just ethno-nationalist propaganda of dubious veracity, you cite…. Tamilnet.

    Let no one here say you don’t have a sense of humour.

  • yapa

    Dear BalangodaMan;

    “Mr Yapa, you will see that the Professor explains it better than me, and being a Professor he is well read – which you are not”

    When I read your reasoning and conclusions, a story came to my mind my dear BalangodaMan.

    A scientist thought to conduct an experiment about a beetle. He took a beetle and put it on the table of his laboratory and commanded the beetle “GO!”.

    Then the beetle crawled on the table.

    Then he took the beetle and removed one of the legs and replaced the beetle on the table and commanded “GO!”.

    Though with a bit difficulty the beetle crawled.

    Then he removed one more leg and repeated the experiment and the beetle crawled with a little bit more difficulty.

    The scientist did the experiment for six times removing a leg each time, even at the last instance the beetle crawled very slowly with the remaining one leg.

    Then the scientist removed the last leg of the beetle put it on the table and repeated his command, “GO!”

    THIS TIME THE BEETLE DID NOT CRAWL.

    The scientist concluded ” WEN ALL SIX LEGS ARE REMOVED, BEETLES CANNOT HEAR!

    Your sweeping generalizations are not different. When you are less informed it could be easy to arrive at conclusions. It is your advantage, I suppose.

    According to your theory all professors are well read than Martin Wickramasinhe.

    Thanks!

  • BalangodaMan

    Mr Yapa,
    August 17, 2010 @ 6:22 am

    Still waaaay off the mark.

    Let’s take the Sinhalese of the Western Coast for example. It is well acknowledged that South Indian migrants over the centuries who settled in these areas assimilated into the Sinhalese, and are now known as Sinhalese. (BTW these are not invaders, they came to help fight battles, general migration, fisheremen who got lost at sea, alien abduction returnees misdirected etc).

    My point is, do you regard Tamils who have assimilated into Sinhalese as Sinhalese or Tamil? I think you do, which is the worrying thing. If that’s the case then this second-class status you seem to wish to bestow upon some of our brothers will extend to the general population of the Western Coast also. Worst still, if the present Tamil population adopt Sinhalese lifestyles (who knows?) even that will not satisfy people like you. Then there will be calls for ‘anti-ethnic-conversion legistlation’ to prevent it! Or a demand for a description of ‘Sinhalese, formerly Tamil’ under ‘race’ in application forms, school entrance, passports etc.

    While there is a desire (of some people) to create division and categories of ‘secondary-humans’ (like one Hitler once had) there will be researchers who will be ready to prove any racist theory.

    The alarm is not about ‘what’ you want, but ‘why’ you want it, and ‘that’ you want it.

  • BalangodaMan

    O Great Mr Yapa,

    “The base of reconciliation should not be emotions.”
    It is.
    Reconciliation is an emotional experience. It is firstly about confronting the errors of our own ways and then, with the pureness of heart that results, acknowledging to our former adversaries the extent of our regret, unconditionally.

    You are confusing ‘confrontation’ with ‘reconciliation’. They are even spelt differently, pronounced differently and mean something like the opposite.

    Identity and pre-history
    —————————
    Granted there were people on this island as far back as 50,000 years. But whether they were ‘Sinhalese’ people or not would depend on your particular definition of the term, doesn’t it? If it’s language and religion and a cultural identity then what is that? Could it have been anything we can see today? Very unlikely! You are putting forward a nonsense because by ‘Sinhalese’ you mean the ‘Sinhalese identity’ that was invented only 130 years ago and promoted with greater vigour only post-independence, that we know very well today – an identity that could not have existed 10,000 or even 2,500 years ago without time travel.

    I think the flaw in your argument lies in an erroneous notion that the ancient people in SL somehow ‘grew our of the soil’ in the island, evolved from a tadpole that lived near Kandy billions of years ago. So any other human is an outsider, a recent arrival, carrying spears or not. Can’t you adjust your knowledge to accommodate the idea that no modern humans existed anywhere in the world outside Africa until 80,000 years ago? So all modern humans (homo sapiens) came to ALL countries from outside, including these pre-historic people who you claim were ‘always there in SL’. The ‘always were there’ theory was the generally accepted ‘fact’ until recently until the human genome project blew it to pieces.

    In those days (say 10,000 years ago) humans only moved a few miles from where they were born. The island of Lanka could only have been inhabited by humans moving a short distance from what is now Tamil Nadu, a little bit by little bit. A quick look at the Atlas may help see this.

  • yapa

    Dear BalangodaMan;

    “My point is, do you regard Tamils who have assimilated into Sinhalese as Sinhalese or Tamil?”

    Don’t ask me such naive questions. Learn your basics.

    If possible answer my queries posed to you.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear BalangodaMan;

    You are very uninformed.

    “Mahavamsa Bashing” was one of the first and foremost strategies of Tamil racism. Tamil historians tried to distort the history of this country and to build a false history friendly to them to pave the way to a Tamil Eelam here. They taught fabricated false theories to uneducated youth of Tamil like Prabakaran. These foolish guys got all the lies taught by their educated ones emotionally (just like BalangodaMan) and started all sort of destructive acts and hostilities against Sinhalese. That was the seed of this massive destruction. The main obstacle for their fabricated theory is the huge evidence found in the Mahavamsa. That is the reason for their hate of the Mahawamsa. So they started ” Mahawamsa Bashing”.

    BalangodaMan, you are only an uninformed innocent prey of that foul project. You have a lot to learn , as wijayapala once told you.

    Thanks!

  • Belle

    Yapa,
    “When I read your reasoning and conclusions, a story came to my mind my dear BalangodaMan.”

    For someone who claims that he has a better grasp of reality than others, you sure rely a lot on stories (i.e. myths) to make your points! Just because one (fictional) scientist interpreted facts wrongly, that means that BalangodaMan is making sweeping generalizations? Why would it not refer equally to your own sweeping generalizations instead?

    You’re saying that the scientist should have used common sense in interpreting his evidence, i.e. that it is the removal of the legs that caused the beetle to remain stationary. Is it common sense to claim that people all the way over from the north of India came first to Sri Lanka when South India was not only adjacent to this beautiful island full of natural resources, but was actually connected to it through a natural bridge in those ancient times? To make such a claim is of the same order of silliness as your scientist thinking that removing the legs of a beetle causes him to lose his hearing.

    Also, if you really want to make your claim stick that Sinhalese arrived first by citing genetic evidence, you need to address the disparity in findings between various genetic studies, some of which claim that Sinhalese are most related to Tamils and others that claim that they are related to Bengalis. You need to really get into genetic theory to approach this issue. Perhaps there is something wrong with the indicators used in some studies over others. But you need to identify such lapses before you can make your claims stick.

    But at the end of it, who came first is totally irrelevant to the issue of the Tamil claim for an Eelam. At the point the nation was formed, Tamils were largely settled in some areas. If the new nation of Sri Lanka could not give equal rights to the Tamils, then it had no right to count Tamil settled territory as part of the new nation. It doesn’t matter how long the Tamils were there–they were there when the new nation was being negotiated and formed. Citizenship is a social contract that entails equal rights. If you can’t give equal rights, then the Tamils are not citizens of SL and SL never had any jurisdiction over Tamils and the north. In which case, the recently concluded war was an invasion and not a civil war. But it would seem according to you, an invasion does not give any ownership rights to the invaders!

  • wije

    Prof Heshan

    Showing your true nationalist colors.

    If you believe that there was a separate Tamil kingdom in ancient times (which anyway would be irrelevant to the discussion), you are most free to refute me.

    Thank you for the Tamilnet link. The citation of Mahadevan was generally correct although Tamilnet’s own analysis was goofy: there has never been a language called “Prakrit.” Prakrit refers to a category of similar ancient Indo-Aryan languages, of which Sinhala prakrit (the direct forerunner of modern Sinhala) was one. It is not separate from Sinhala in the same way that ancient Tamil is not separate from modern Tamil save for age and some other influences.

    You neglected to include one key part of Mahadevan’s testimony:

    “The inscription bears testimony to the presence in southern Sri Lanka of a local Tamil mercantile community organised in a guild to conduct maritime trade as early as at the close of the 3rd century BCE”.”

    Is this your evidence of a separate Tamil kingdom?

  • wije

    yapa

    BalangodaMan, you are only an uninformed innocent prey of that foul project. You have a lot to learn , as wijayapala once told you.

    Perhaps this applies to all of us.

    As I told Heshan, the Mahavamsa provides key glimpses into the origin of the Sinhalese and Buddhism in SL. I would add that it is a tool to decipher Indian history as well. The Europeans who uncovered the Asokan Edicts in India, for example, had no idea who he was until James Princep drew the connection with the Sinhala chronicles.

    The Mahavamsa is not all-encompassing, however; it does not contain the sum total of every aspect of SL history. No historical text does. It is up to the historian to play detective by seeking clues in other places.

    In this case, the Mahavamsa does not explain the origins/ancestry of the *modern* Sinhala people. Sinhala language and Buddhism, yes. Sinhala people, no.

  • wije

    Sorry I hit the submit button too early.

    I meant to add that the glaring gap in the Mahavamsa is the lack of discussion on the Tamils in SL. Perhaps this is a reason why the Tamils have not embraced it the way we have.

  • BalangodaMan

    Wije,

    “In this case, the Mahavamsa does not explain the origins/ancestry of the *modern* Sinhala people. Sinhala language and Buddhism, yes. Sinhala people, no.”

    My thoughts exactly.

    At the extreme, it would take only one influential person arriving from outside to introduce a new language and religion (fashion, sport, all things cultural) to an entire tribe. Therefore, ‘migration’ of culture is not necessarily indicative of physical migration of people. For example, Nigerians who speak English in Nigeria did not originally come to Nigeria from England!

    So, in SL is this a cultural conflict? A (mistaken) racial conflict? A longevity conflict? Or just ‘a conflict’ spurred on by bad education that cast part of our people as having something to answer for? (the latter using race, culture, longevity as bogeymen excuses to justify a deep seated unjustifiable shameful prejudice)

  • Nithyananthan

    Gentlemen!

    I am much enthused by curiosity and wandering to know in what language the ‘Mahavamsa’ was written originally. Was it in Sinhalese or Hindi or Sanskrit?

  • BalangodaMan

    Wije,

    “the glaring gap in the Mahavamsa is the lack of discussion on the Tamils in SL”
    Which is why I think it was most probably written to glorify the Sinhalese. Quite likely similar literary endeavours existed in all other tribes/groups but we don’t know about them because (1) they were lost/destroyed (2) not found yet.

    All,

    Let’s get this is perspective. The Mahawamsa is an important discovery. Its part in developing a national identity in the late 1800s is understandable – for those alarmed at the rising popularity of the colonisers it became a perfect tool. I don’t think the promotion of it was aimed at driving a wedge between the Sinhalese and the Tamils, rather to combat the rapid ‘Anglisisation and Christianisation’ of Ceylon. The Mahawamsa should be equally important to all Sri Lankans as a voice from the past (albeit one voice, there could have been many more). Its a pity that it has become a political football in this unnecessary conflict. An acknowledgement of that may help the process of reconciliation (for those who want it, that is).

    As John Lennon sang ‘the war is over (if you want it)’.

  • BalangodaMan

    Nithyananthan,

    The Mahawamsa was written in Pali.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahavamsa

  • yapa

    Dear Belle;

    “Also, if you really want to make your claim stick that Sinhalese arrived first by citing genetic evidence,….”

    Really I don’t want. Only BalangodaMan suggested to solve the problem on “racial” basis. If you read carefully you will realize that I am against that “racial theory”. I argued against it. BalangodaMan is “a little Hitler” who believes building social and political institutions on racial basis. This Montessori child is acting like a bull in the china shop.

    ” But at the end of it, who came first is totally irrelevant to the issue of the Tamil claim for an Eelam. At the point the nation was formed,…….”

    Irrelevant? For the advantage of your claims it is irrelevant? Otherwise how do you say it is irrelevant? Just parroting and repeating it as a mantra does not substantiate statements. Again claim for Eelam? It is history, and the claim again would only do the reconciliation process delayed. Nation formed? what nation formation are you talking about? You are trying to create some more imaginary concepts.

    ” If you can’t give equal rights,………….”

    To get equal rights you don’t need to distort the history. Are they expecting to gain their rights by rejecting the rights of Sinhalese for their legitimate history? Why do you want to do it? I never have rejected the equal rights for Tamils. What I opposing is to rejecting Sinhalese’ rights is gain your rights. This is a demand, not negotiation. This attempt to distort the the history has some hidden agenda as giving equal rights is possible without distorting the history. History of Sinhalese is a right of them.

    “But it would seem according to you, an invasion does not give any ownership rights to the invaders!”

    Do you really think invaders must have equal rights. No I don’t believe so.

    Thanks!

  • BalangodaMan

    Mr Yapa,

    “Do you really think invaders must have equal rights. No I don’t believe so.”
    So who invited us to Lanka all those years ago? (whoever we are)

    (I have asked this before) Mr Yapa, who taught you these things?

    In those days the country was huge relative to the number of people who lived here. Nobody needed to ‘invade’ to come and settle in Lanka. No border controls. No visas. No big sign saying ‘keep out’. Some came to help our rulers fight internal wars. Large numbers in the Western Coastal areas (like I said) were South Indian mercenaries. These people are now called Sinhalese. Do they also have to reveal themselves as an underclass for you? How do we separate the descendants of invaders (now define? likely to be a minority and much diluted) from the descendants of peaceful migrants?

    Mr Yapa, you are harping on about things that are supposed to have happened 1,000 years ago (even if they did happen as you think they did). Do you really want the people of the next 1,000 years to bear your misplaced insecurities?

    Every land had migrations, invasions, famine, drought, natural disasters. These things are happening even now as we speak. It is not unique to our country. It is how a country and its people grow up and becomes a more mature country. You too need to grow up and become mature, and move on. There is peace to be made and we must not let attitudes like this get in the way. And I thought you are a Buddhist too. May I leave you with the wish that you reconsider your attitude for the sake of the future of Sri Lanka.

  • Belle

    Yapa,
    ‘Really I don’t want. Only BalangodaMan suggested to solve the problem on “racial” basis. If you read carefully you will realize that I am against that “racial theory”.’

    I went back to check your early posts in this thread. Other forummers were busy discussing the fate of Tamils displaced by the war, and how SL government should try to treat Tamils in a more equitable fashion. Then you came along and disturbed the focus on equal rights by challenging somebody who saw Sinhalese chauvinism as an obstacle to peace and reconciliation. You did so by bringing up ancient history, linking alleged Tamil destruction of Anuradapura and Polonnaruwa kingdoms to LTTE’s violence, and beyond that generally to Tamil demand for Eelam. What is that if not an assertion of your belief in “race”? Only a person who believes in race would think that a community doesn’t change over centuries–that they will behave in the present exactly as they behaved many, many centuries ago. You speak as if you believe that invasion and violence is coded in Tamil genes (although of course you are very careful about not saying that directly).

    Later when Huh said SL had been in the past made up of kingdoms, rather than political formations based on race, you challenged that too, insisting that the kingdoms were based on race.

    Further, you show distinct discomfort about the idea that those known as the Sinhalese today may be made up of Tamils who in the past assimilated into Sinhalese culture. The people who believe this consider Sinhalese to be an ethnicity rather than a race. But you want to assert that it is a race.

    Do you actually think forummers here are dumb enough to fall for your ploy of saying you don’t believe in race while all the while arguing to keep race as a valid concept? You remind me of people who do nasty things to others while claiming all the while to be acting in their interests.

    “I never have rejected the equal rights for Tamils. What I opposing is to rejecting Sinhalese’ rights is gain your rights.”

    All your posts depict Tamils in a very bad light, as usurpers or invaders of Sinhalese land. Do you see that as promoting equal rights for Tamils? I have never ever seen you participate in any thread where you seriously suggest ways for Tamils to be given equal rights. You only pay lip service to it (like here) while attempting to rile people against Tamils and raising totally imaginary fears of Tamils obtaining their Eelam at the expense of Sinhalese rights (which is designed to make Sinhalese resistant to giving Tamils their equal rights). Eelam will never happen–you know that as well as anyone else. SL Tamils don’t have the political power to demand it and actually they are not even demanding it. They are looking at other ways of power sharing (which is their right, by the way). Due to sovereignty issues, the diaspora can never force Eelam on SL. They may have some traction in demanding equal rights (which appears to scare you silly). China will not let Eelam happen. So why do you raise these totally imaginary fears? We all know your game.

    “To get equal rights you don’t need to distort the history. Are they expecting to gain their rights by rejecting the rights of Sinhalese for their legitimate history?”

    The Sinhalese have a right to their history as anybody else. But they DONT have a right to nationalist chauvinism or to majoritarianism. They don’t have a right to distort their history to serve their nationalist chauvinism. Why do you even emphasize history as the history of race? Historians have already shown time and again that race was not a concept embraced or even known in ancient times–yet you want to structure history along racial lines. You have throughout used the modern race lens to distort SL history of ancient times.

    Why do you distort Tamil history to make Tamils seem like they have contributed nothing to SL except murder and mayhem?

    “Irrelevant? For the advantage of your claims it is irrelevant? Otherwise how do you say it is irrelevant? Just parroting and repeating it as a mantra does not substantiate statements. Again claim for Eelam? It is history, and the claim again would only do the reconciliation process delayed. Nation formed? what nation formation are you talking about? You are trying to create some more imaginary concepts.”

    I am not at all surprised by your disdain for the concept of a nation as a social contract and as a reality. You are one with your government in having such disdain. But the nation is a reality. Eelam is not in itself an illegitimate claim—every community on this earth has an inalienable right to self-determination. Unfortunately, they do not always attain this right. But in exchange for dropping this claim, do you not think the Tamils have a right to claim equal rights? That is the basis of being a citizen. If you are not prepared to give equal rights to a community, they have every right to sail away from your nation. It is not the demand for Eelam that has delayed the reconciliation process—it is the refusal to give Tamils their equal rights that has caused this delay.

  • yapa

    Dear Belle;

    “For someone who claims that he has a better grasp of reality than others, you sure rely a lot on stories (i.e. myths)…………”

    This shows the depth and width of your knowledge and thinking. You are a prisoner of popular thinking. Did you ever think of the mighty service endowed by the stories in human civilization to bring it to the present position? Do you underestimate the contribution of stories to shape and mold morality and values of the human kind? What do you think the present situation of the mankind if the stories found in Vedas, Upanishads, Bible, Koran, Jathaka Stories, Folk Lore, Fairy Tales, Aesop’s Fables did not exist? Have you read Pinocchio’s story? Didn’t you ever find your nose is unusually long?

    Most of the people do not understand the value of the things that are not purposely taught to them or if I say in other words if not in their syllabus.

    Most of the learned people today are just syllabus learned people, not real learned people. They do not know cannot think anything out side their syllabuses. To day we feel misery of the lack of the scholars of the scale of Socrates, Aristotle and Plato.

    Thanks!

  • longus

    First and foremost, Mahawansa is not a book written by some Buddhist monk on “omaginary tales” like Vedas nor a “collection of Jewish Fairy Tales”. It is a chronicle contributed by many scholars over a period of nearly 2000 years. Some details of it may be definitely blown out of proportion and at times biased towards certain rulers according to the liking of the chronicler. For example the account on Dutugemunu goes on and on for several pages whereas the description of Kashyapa in limited to one paragraph! And also there is a touch of super natural as well in describing certain events,maybe in order to make the accounts more graphic.

    But, all in all any of these does not diminish the value of Mahawansa as a historical source simply because the events and the time periods described in the chronicle by and large match the other historical evidence i.e. the stone inscriptions, bronze “sannasas” and other artifacts.

    I won’t be surprised if some of the “hyperintellectual” professors who post here say that stone inscriptions are the work of “Rajapakse government” or “Sinhalese extremists”!

  • BalangodaMan

    Longus,

    It is not the Mahawamsa that this debate has an issue with. It is the introduction of the Mahawamsa to this debate to frustrate an exploration of how peace and reconciliation can be brought about.

    The implication, apart from the content of the chronicles, of its existence alone is to further the mistaken and chauvinistic idea that nobody but the (community that calls itself Sinhalese today) are proper bona fide citizens of SL. The absence of similar chronicles describing other groups does not reduce their validity (they may exist, may have existed, may well be found).

  • Belle

    Yapa,
    “This shows the depth and width of your knowledge and thinking. You are a prisoner of popular thinking. Did you ever think of the mighty service endowed by the stories in human civilization to bring it to the present position? Do you underestimate the contribution of stories to shape and mold morality and values of the human kind? What do you think the present situation of the mankind if the stories found in Vedas, Upanishads, Bible, Koran, Jathaka Stories, Folk Lore, Fairy Tales, Aesop’s Fables did not exist? Have you read Pinocchio’s story? Didn’t you ever find your nose is unusually long?”

    I have no problems with stories. It’s my area of specialization, actually. But you were the one complaining about how everyone prefers myths to reality.

    Actually, my nose is very short. Sometimes people think I can’t be Indian because of that! Your nose is probably short too. You ever heard the story about men’s noses?

  • Nithyananthan

    Mr. Balangodaman,

    Thank you for your response clearing my doubt. Not that I didn’t know – but confused. I learnt it long ago when I did history at Grade-5.

    I follow-up and keep track with keen interest the unhampered and unregulated interesting discussions in the GV. Volleys of crisscrossing arguments, covering all aspects of Lankan political affairs, going on between the well-read and informed elites and academics enjoy good reception among the audience. Although outwardly the discussion simply appears as a grade – 8 school debates, the objectives are believed to be noble, constructive, exploratory, informative and healthy; and expected to be productive and fruitful one day – with purpose-served desired outcome at the end.
    Your presentation style, a fact that you believe-in and emphasize, always accompanies pleasing explanation to the very fact without deviation or distortion, by setting forth careful and often elaborate detail is appreciated; and it protrudes one’s devotion to exercise intellectual pursuit guided by his / her appetite for intellect rather than emotional compulsions.

    Qoute from Mr. Wije – “In this case, the Mahavamsa does not explain the origins/ancestry of the *modern* Sinhala people. Sinhala language and Buddhism, yes. Sinhala people, no’.

    I perceive the ‘Old Testament’ as so sacred Holy book to the descendents of Abraham; and so is the venerable ‘Mahavamsa’ to our Sinhalese brethren. Then my notion prompts another persisting puzzle as to why the Mahavamsa was not written in Singhalese Language! Therefore, I would be much pleased if anyone of the learned, Mr. Balangodaman in particular, could correct me if I had wrongly conceived such belief and explain realistically acceptable justification as how or why the Sinhalese Language was circumvented. Thanks! Nithy!

  • BalangodaMan

    Mr Yapa,

    Whilst it is bad netiquette to combine viewpoints raised in two separate discussion threads I think your (stated) views on this thread …

    http://www.groundviews.org/2010/05/07/the-agnostics-vs-the-believers-regarding-karma-reincarnation-nirvana-as-described-in-buddhism-being-real-aspects-of-this-world/

    … may throw some light on why you are adamant that some people are inferior (by some ‘ancestral burden’) even before they are born (your sentiment).

    Following on from your theories in that thread, people you consider to be sons and daughters of ‘invaders’ (your view) were born as such for some legitimate reason as decreed by some cosmic judgement mechanism of karmic retribution (which you also claimed to be able to prove with quantum physics, though no such proof was forthcoming).

    (It’s worth another read!)

    At least you are consistent.

  • yapa

    Dear Belle;

    “Actually, my nose is very short. Sometimes people think I can’t be Indian because of that! Your nose is probably short too. You ever heard the story about men’s noses?”

    You know in Pinocchio’s story, when Pinocchio tells a lie, his nose grows longer. Don’t you think my nose too is unusually long?

    Thanks!

  • BalangodaMan

    Nithyananthan,

    “Then my notion prompts another persisting puzzle as to why the Mahavamsa was not written in Singhalese Language!”
    Good question. I had not thought about this.

    Whist the Mahawamsa has been hijacked by the SL Neo-Nazis since late there is a view that ethnic polarisation (to the extent we have today) did not exist in SL in ancient times. Certainly, the nationally organised jingoism is a product of the extent of communication we have today (but see next para). I’m not an expert on this, but general knowledge suggests that Pali was the language in which learned people wrote things down. As Latin was the written language of academics in Europe while I would expect people spoke in local languages (from which the modern European languages developed, with common ancestry in Latin)? I’m guessing.

    (Mis)interpretation
    —————–
    I have always wondered what is meant by ‘he was the King/ruler of X country’ when talking about ancient times. Even in a small land like Lanka I would question if a fisherman in Galle had any idea (or even cared) who was the King/ruler of the ‘country’. Firstly, what was ‘the country’? How would he have known anything about anything going on except through travelling salesmen and people with dubious intentions that passed through? How would one authenticate anything that anyone said? No CNN in those days, see? No corroboration of news/information. And how did the ‘king’ know that he is the only ‘king’? And who was a ‘king’ except a local ‘chundiya’ (thug) who often claimed some form of divinity, with the local priestly class adding their blessing/confirmation that supporting the ‘king’ would hold them in good stead in the afterlife, wherever that might be?

    We tend to (particularly well illustrated by Mr Yapa both in this thread and the one mentioned earlier) try and interpret things in another era in terms of knowledge, norms, attitudes we know in this era. We then arrive at quite a wrong conclusion, quite wrong understanding of the motives of people who lived thousands of years ago. (I’m sure when Mr Yapa says ‘invasion’ the picture that comes up is something like the D-Day landings, or the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait)

    Which reminds me of another thing to ask Mr Yapa (if only he would answer), after his condemnation of ‘the descendants of invaders’. Shouldn’t descendants of murderers also have their rights withdrawn? If so what level of proof should we need for a fair judgement? And how many generations should such punishment persist? And is there a statute of limitations and should double jeopardy apply? How should one ‘pay one’s dues to society’ and become a free man, if that’s possible at all? (aren’t most people in most countries descendants of invaders of some sort?)

    Thanks for your comments. Perhaps I ought to stick around a bit longer :)

  • longus

    balangodaMan

    In my opinion both peace and reconcilliation are already,after the defeat of the LTTE here, we only have to give the finishing touches to it now!

    If anybody considers Mahawansa to be a pile of lies,I must say in that case all other non recorded histories of the other nations in the world as lies too!

  • yapa

    I think everybody should learn lessons from history. Please read. I think Montessori children must specially read.

    http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=4733#

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Mr. Austin Fernando was too late to learn the lesson. There are more late learners in the queue. A day will come for them too to make a confession.

    Thanks!

  • ModVoice

    Travelling Academic,

    Sure, I am not painting a rosy picture over Tamil militancy – it had its toll. However, you and I know very well what brought about the Tamil militancy. Many critics of LTTE and backers of Ghandiyanism often ignore the failure of ahimsa methods used by pre-LTTE politicians as well as by col. Thileepan. We live in a world where one can get away with massacre as long as they have the right allies, who may happen to have a little bit more than pure economic interests, and be congratulated by the authoritative world body. Then what can the likes of TNA, Sangaree achieve? It is only a matter of how much power one has and not the moral high-handedness as you would argue in favour of Sangaree – which is why I drew the comparison.

    “You could tell me more, please — how was this de facto state achieved and what happened after that? Where is the Eelam they promised to deliver? Where now is the compromise from the government you speak of? Or was our goal simply to achieve a de facto state for a few milliseconds, by whatever means, and then tell stories about it to our grand-children?”

    Now that the LTTE have lost, many analysis on their failures will be forthcoming. Had they have won, they would have been celebrated as war heroes. Anyway, the important point is they were a symptom of failed politics or State oppression.

  • ModVoice

    Also,

    “The sooner we, Tamils, understand that, the greater is the chance of re-building that very nice way of life we once had, from the ashes under which it is all now buried.”

    Trav, as the way things look like, they are more likely to diminish or lose their identity than return to the life they once had.

  • Travelling Academic

    @ModVoice
    Why do you not call a spade a spade: “Tamil militancy had its toll”, is a poor description of LTTE’s acts. Would you not agree that the LTTE did murder, torture and steal from fellow Tamils? When they killed young kids from TELO, some were burnt alive, were they not? Why do you shy away from using accurate language to describe the Tigers?

  • BalangodaMan

    Longus,

    “If anybody considers Mahawansa to be a pile of lies,I must say in that case all other non recorded histories of the other nations in the world as lies too!”

    I don’t think anyone on this thread dismiss the Mahawamsa as ‘a pile of lies’. That would be wrong.

    The point made is that the Mahawamsa has been put forward (hijacked) as a vehicle to marginalise a particular ethnic group, promote inequality and make the ludicrous claim that one ethnic group is in effect ‘god’s chosen people’.

    (BTW Mahawamsa is recorded history) Both recorded and non-recorded ‘history’ is open to challenge when new evidence comes to light. Until then historians keep an open mind about the authenticity of what ancient stories say. History, myth, legend are words with different meanings. King Arthur is not history. Robin Hood is not history. They are stories passed down the generations and the people in the country in which they originated (England) treat them as such, say in contrast to accounts of the Roman occupation. Also, often you have real events and there are stories built around them.

    So we have to be careful how we differentiate. I doubt if the people commenting on this thread have a problem there. Our problem is, the large proportion of our countrymen who will believe whatever is told to them by people of ‘authority’ (yellow robians, politicians, tele-drama actors etc) as gospel truth. We are not, as a nation, sufficiently advanced intellectually to be comfortable with separating legend from fact. It is an emotional pain we avoid (as a country). Anyone who tries to use objective analysis, or challenge the status quo, is branded a ‘western conspirator’. There lies the problem.

  • http://srilankalandoftheblind.blogspot.com/ PresiDunce Bean

    The Mahawansa is ‘FACTION’ a bit like the stuff Dan Brown writes. Fiction based on fact. Most history is ‘FACTION.’ You got to take it with a pinch of salt. Just imagine…in about 2500 years time, there might be a ‘RajapaksaWansa’ written by the good docter Da Yarn JoyTickler! Hmmm…I can’t wait to read that version of history about the ‘Utopian Paradise of Rajapakistan!’

  • yapa

    “I don’t think anyone on this thread dismiss the Mahawamsa as ‘a pile of lies’. That would be wrong.”

    But this is the earlier version of this person about the Mahawamsa.

    “Adding to what Heshan said (you are taking the Mahavamsa etc origins as literal truth rather than legend and/or more likely political propaganda of ancient people promoted by the political agenda of present day people)”

    This is the person who earlier suggested to use genetic base as a solution for the present political problem of the country.

    This is the person who attributed breakdown of his oil pump of the car to karma. This is the person who suggested to chemically test Tooth Relic in Kandy to check its authenticity, in another discussion of this blog.

    What to do?

    Thanks!

  • Heshan

    All this fuss over Mahavamsa. I have shown that the vast majority of reliable academics in SL (regardless of ethnicity) do not consider the Mahavamsa to be an objective source of historical material. Let me repost what I posted before:

    Dr. Mendis (University of Ceylon) agrees:

    “The warning to handle critically, which the excellent historian considers necessary with regard to the Ceylonese Chronicles, is certainly justified. It applies to all historical documents, and I have no intention at all disputing the justice of it.” ( page XIII , Introduction, Mahavamsa 1950 edition published by the Ceylon Government Information Department)

    According to the Mahavamsa and the Dipavansa, the son (Mahinda) and the daughter (Sangamitta) of the Indian Emperor Asoka were responsible for converting the King of Lanka and his people to Buddhism. However, Dr. V.A. Smith names the story in the Mahavamsa, related to this conversion as nothing but a ’tissue of absurdities’ (V.A. Smith, Asoka page 45)”.

    —————

    What this shows is that the university establishment in S. Lanka (with a few Nalin De Silva type exceptions) is still able to do objective analysis… the fact that individuals like Wijeyapala, longus, and travelling academic would dispute the claims of these academics, who have spent the better of their lives analyzing Mahavamsa and the like, is rather unfortunate. These academics are probably the last living bastion of objectivity in the Raja dictatorship.

  • BalangodaMan

    “Utopian Paradise of Rajapakistan!”
    Love it!

    Then again, we really have no evidence that the past ever existed, no? The entire universe and all of us in it may have been created just a moment ago as a science experiment, with history books and catch-up TV to give the impression that there was a past. Only this moment exists, forever.
    LOL!

  • yapa

    Post of August 19, 2010 @ 9:57 pm,

    Uninterrupted imaginations of insanity. If some drug like cocaine is taken that imaginations will be more colorful. You can make an imaginary fairy world. Just think without any fact. That is good way to produce good concepts.

    This man is living in an imaginary world.

    Thanks!

  • ModVoice

    Trav,

    To be fair not just LTTE but other rival militants, such as PLOTE, EPDP, etc all were part of the mayhem you describe (i.e. murder, torture, …) on our community.
    I would rather blame those who instigated violence and put arms in the hands of these youth, paving way for rivalry and what not. Wasn’t TULF one of those who promoted them to take up arms and fight for a separate country?

    longus,

    “In my opinion both peace and reconcilliation are already,after the defeat of the LTTE here, we only have to give the finishing touches to it now!”

    What finishing touches? You mean keeping them in open prisons surrounded by military cantonments, registering them with police, or is it the renewal of PTA the finishing touches you are talking about?

    “If anybody considers Mahawansa to be a pile of lies,I must say in that case all other non recorded histories of the other nations in the world as lies too!”

    I agree Mahawamsa is the true recorded history. Do you believe that Sinhalese are descendants of a cross between lion and Kuveni as the Mahawamsa states?

    PresiDunce Bean,
    Nice blog!

  • ModVoice

    Dear Travelling Academic,
    I must add to my last post to you:

    While the LTTE may not be democratic, who would you blame the murders, robberies, abductions going on in the peninsula now – the vanquished LTTE? Is the society now crime – free?

  • BalangodaMan

    Mr Yapa
    August 20, 2010 @ 11:28 pm

    To regard ancient literature as entirely ‘factual’ is wrong. This includes the Bible, Qu’ran, Mahabarata, the legend of King Arthur/Robin Hood. All of these may be based on factual elements, but the motivation or inspiration to write them came from the needs of the time. Often this is political. Which is evident from the Mahawamsa or the authors would not have begun by describing the ‘origins of the Sinhalese people’ as descendants of a lion – ie. to glorify our beginnings. (you will notice that my statement you misquote refers to the ‘Mahawamsa origins’ of the Sinhalese. Read it again). However, that does not mean that the Mahawamsa is irrelevant or ‘a pile of lies’. The point that is relevant to this discussion is, the hajacking of the Mahawamsa for present day political needs (ie. taking it out of context and THAT being ‘a pile of lies’ – YOU are making ancient literature into ‘a pile of lies’ by making out that it is fact!) by people such as yourself hell-bent on prolonging strife in our country for many more generations.

    The genetic base is, in my opinion, the key to our society becoming inclusive once again. For how long are we to deny that the population in some traditionally Sinhalese areas in SL are descendants of Tamil migrants over many centuries long ago, now assimilated into Sinhalese? Are we suggesting that we lie to our children/next generations? Won’t they find out?

    The car breakdown and karma is a perfect illustration of the popular understanding of what karma is/supposed to be in SL. See for yourself. Any event of misfortune is usually followed by a shrug of the shoulder and an acknowledgement that it is karma at play. (outside this discussion)

    The Tooth Relic’s authenticity is another example of history and its aberration. It is recorded in historical writings that the relic was destroyed by colonisers. This may or may not be true. It can only be confirmed by scientific testing. The point in that discussion was about whether we have the stomach to face facts and challenge what we know as ‘history’, whether we are open to considering new evidence, whether we seek new evidence and corroboration. Clearly YOU do not. A certain amount of intellectual maturity is needed for the progress of knowledge, and the emotional insecurity in hanging on to myths is indicative of the lack of such. An example of this is the investigation into the authenticity of the Turin Shroud. The key point here is not that it turned out to be a 13th century fake but that enough people wanted to know the truth.

    I think you are just picking on certain ‘emotive’ words and not actually digesting the meaning of what is being said, and in context. Or you are wrapped up in a narrow mindset preventing you from entertaining alternative views?

  • BalangodaMan

    Mr Yapa,

    If the difference between ‘fact’ and other things is still a blur to you …

    Let’s suppose I wrote a To Do List. Someone many centuries later finds it. Do they consider my To Do List to be ‘fact’?

    To understand the meaning of what they have found they need to try and find out who wrote it? when? why was it written? is it supposed to be things that did happen? or things that the writer hoped would happen (more likely)?

    The most useful thing a future generation can learn from it is that in this age we have things called ‘To Do Lists’. That may help them understand the world we live in now, the pace of it, things we did, what we aspired to do. They will relate my list with other things they know about our age to get a better understanding of what they found.

    Hope that helps.

  • BalangodaMan

    Mr Yapa,

    To Do List … part deux
    ———————
    If primitive humans re-emerged after the world is destroyed by a nuclear holocaust and find my To Do List we can excuse them for creating a ‘myth of origins’ and religion out of it. Item No 1 says ‘feed the cat’, so to them cats become sacred. Item No 2 is ‘wash the car’, which they (not knowing what a car is) decipher to mean ‘wash the cat’, thus further enhancing their belief in the almighty Cat God. Other tribes that did not have possession of the Cat List (now renamed) are marginalised as usurpers, as invaders of the holy Cat Land and destined for hell, and their rights withdrawn even before that. Of course, other tribes in time find other artefacts from pre-holocaust times. One of them is a piece of toilet roll which says ‘now wash your hands’. This becomes their mantra, ritual, and undisputed route to heaven or their particular nirvana, in contrast to the beliefs of the Cat People whose primary religious ritual is feeding the cat. Cats in Cat Land get quite large as a result.

    (So, My Yapa, feeling a little pussy?)

    Hope that helps too.

  • Travelling Academic

    @ModVoice,
    Thanks — I am glad you now accept that LTTE (who was the group you identified as having achieved much for the Tamils by running their own government for a brief period), engaged in mayhem, murder and torture. This is good start, but you immediately go onto two lines of defense that amuse me a lot: (a) other groups, PLOTE, TELO and the chicken thieves of present day Jaffna, have done bad things too; and (b) somebody else, TULF, is to blame for starting it.

    Is this not, as an argument in defending the side you support, just the same as those supporting the Sri Lankan government’s stance quickly resort to? You try talking about the immense brutality unleashed on the Vanni population during the last days of the war, and they will immediately tell you: (a) the Americans have done bad things too; and (b) the LTTE started it anyway!

    Sometimes, in the interest of decent behaviour, we should rise above these petty tactical arguments to score points and set for ourselves absolute standards. That, in my view, mostly involves being self-critical. When I think with my Tamil hat on, as I sometimes do, I deeply regret not speaking out against the evils carried out by armed Tamil youth (all of them) in my name. Equally, and most of the time, I think as a Sri Lankan, and am ashamed of the way our post-independence politics was managed; of the way we failed to understand and manage the problems faced by our youth; of the way we put down three rebellions with exteme brutality — with no care in the world about who got caught in the middle; and of the way many of my countrymen still run to the Mahavamsa to find explanations and justifications.

    There is now a great opportunity to grow up, and work towards a greater good. Let us not miss it — that is the take home message in Bopage’s speech.

    In this thread, Yapa amused me by claiming his role is fabricating lies to counter the lies of the other side; you do equally well by saying it was not just the LTTE that was bad. Must be that 90% genetic similarity amongst all Sri Lankans, don’t you think? Bye for now.

  • yapa

    Re: August 21, 2010 @ 2:40 pm, August 21, 2010 @ 3:13 pm, August 21, 2010 @ 3:38 pm

    you are showing your lack of knowledge, and immaturity again.

    Learn before preaching.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    By the way how is your DNA Project? I think you must be very busy with that, as it is very important for the reconciliation process. Please be kind enough to expedite it.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Sorry, I wanted to remind you another important matter. After finishing that DNA project, please be kind enough to make arrangements for Scientific testing of the Tooth Relic of the Lord Buddha.

    Further, please request your president (USA) to approve citizenship for all the Iranians, as they are genetically same as USA citizens.

    Your great service will be recognized and honoured soon.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Lessons learnt or still to be learnt?

    For special attention of the swollen headed Montessori Children.

    http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=4861#

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Travelling Academic;

    “In this thread, Yapa amused me by claiming his role is fabricating lies to counter the lies of the other side;”

    I owe some respect over most of the others at least telling truth and being honest. I am further proud of myself not forgetting my obligations and duties. I am a quite happy man.

    Thanks!

  • BalangodaMan

    Mr Yapa,

    “I am further proud of myself not forgetting my obligations and duties”
    There is no requirement in SL’s constitution, or the people to create conflict and division. Therefore I suggest that your obligations and duties are misplaced.

    As I mentioned on another thread, we have good examples in recent history of misplaced obligation and duty along the lines you are at. An entire German nation were motivated by that 1939-45, and if that’s too long ago to remember there was a recent case of 19 young men flying large aircraft into tall buildings in NYC as their obligation and duty.

    Appropriate for a Sunday, as someone important said, ‘hatred cannot be conquered by hatred, but by love alone’.

  • yapa

    “Therefore I suggest that your obligations and duties are misplaced.”

    You are too quick, too early, too immature and not knowledgeable enough to arrive at such a conclusion.

    Some people try to see the world with their” Little Eyes”.

    Thanks!

  • BalangodaMan

    Oligations and Duties
    ———————
    Mr Yapa has revealed that his somewhat unconventional approach to Peace and Reconcilitiaion is due to his ‘obligations and duties’.

    Do any readers agree that our Obligations and Duties towards the present and future generations of Sri Lankans in bringing about a peaceful and harminious land takes precedence?

    Or, does anyone take Mr Yapa’s view that ‘Obligations and Duties’ towards a few past (divisive and misguided) people, and the racist mindset they introduced in our country (on both sides), takes priority over progress towards Peace and Reconciliation that we seek for our children and their children?

    Please post your thoughts here. It may help influence the future of Lanka.

  • yapa

    “Mr Yapa has revealed that his somewhat unconventional approach to Peace and Reconcilitiaion is due to his ‘obligations and duties’.”

    A frog might be able to describe very well the well he lives. It is his world. However, it does not imply that he can describe the tings outside his dwelling place. But some frogs living in wells thinks that the world is the world is limited to the world he knows.

    This frog is miserably trapped in a “Science Well” and he think he can describe and explain the whole universe with his frog mentality. He even has no knowledge to describe his well, that is Science. He has no knowledge of Scientific Method or any other methodologies used in different disciplines to gain different forms of knowledge. He advocates and prescribes Scientific Method as panacea for all illnesses and social problems and subjects, even when he doesn’t have a fair knowledge even about the Scientific Method. Not only Scientific Method I have no doubt that he does not have knowledge in Science Subjects more than high School student.

    Today one of the biggest problem is that people with a marginal knowledge are trying to talk big making recommendations to the world problems. They do not like to handle smaller issues. Small heads want to handle big issues.

    Frogs should know their size. They cannot be blown to be an elephant.

    Little knowledge is dangerous.

    Thanks!

  • Belle

    Yapa,
    In order to pass judgements on BalangodaMan as a frog in the well who thinks he is an elephant, you yourself must be an “elephant”. In order to prove that he doesn’t have sufficient knowledge of Scientific Method, you yourself must have supreme knowledge of Scientific Method. I have seen no evidence of either in your retorts. I said earlier that if you want to make your argument stick that Sinhalese arrived first by citing genetic evidence, you need to address the disparity in findings between various genetic studies, some of which claim that Sinhalese are most related to Tamils and others that claim that they are related to Bengalis. I waited and waited for you to explain those disparities, but obviously you lack knowledge of genetic theory to do so. So, on what grounds do you have the authority to pass judgement on BalangodaMan’s knowledge of scientific method?

    Instead, you show yourself to be the proverbial frog in the well. You don’t even seem able to recognize that BalangodaMan is not using obsolete classical critical methods and epistemology but rather poststructuralist ones.

    BalangodaMan says: “Future generations will be better educated; they will regard yesterday and today’s ‘racial’ divisions as emerging out of ignorance, our ignorance and that of people who lived centuries ago. We can start regarding us as ‘one people’ right now. Why wait?”

    Do you have a problem with that? Do you have a problem with ideas of unity and equality of people? I suspect you do. Like many people who need to dominate others and establish power over them, you have anxieties about size. You’re concerned that BalangodaMan’s ideas make him appear to be a bigger person than you. So you need to cut him down to size. Your need to do this is so strong that you literally use the words “big” and “small” and other words associated with size. Sorry to have to tell you this, but nobody is bigger than anyone else. We are all as vulnerable as the next person. We all have the potential to be magnificent people.

    One thing about the frog in the well that the proverb ignores—when it looks up, it sees the sky.

  • BalangodaMan

    Well said, Belle.

    People, Lionel Bopage’s article is about Peace and Reconciliation. It has attracted contributions from many people and I’m sure with that level of resolve we may yet have lasting Peace and Reconciliation in SL, before too long.

    If I am reading Mr Yapa right, his objection is … ‘the readers of GV should not be discussing Peace and Reconciliation at all’ – evidently Peace and Reconciliation is not on his agenda. He claims that it is his ‘obligation and duty’ to take that position. Clearly Mr Yapa is not looking forward to a peaceful and reconciled Sri Lanka. Where will he go?

  • Burning_Issue

    BalangodaMan,

    Yapa wrote to me on the 6th of Aug on this forum:

    “Dear Burning_Issue, We should find solutions not by not rejecting hard realities, but by accepting them and making attempts to bridge them. Really there are two different ethnicity known as as Sinhalese and Tamils, it is a reality not a myth. Existence of differences are not a big obstacle in find solutions, but neglecting such realities is a big barrier. It is like ostriche’s rejecting the cyclone after hiding his head under sand. This very act might bring the end to the ostrich, if the intensity of the cyclone is high enough.”

    He concluded:

    “Dear Burning_Issue, we must build our houses on hard realities, not on soft quick sand. We must bravely face realities.”

    I asked him to clarify the Realities but no response.

    Yes, Yapa wants peace but only on the basis that the Sinhala Buddhists own the Island and the rest is tolerated as invaders; as long as such people understand this Reality, then he is at peace!

  • yapa

    Dear Belle;

    You say (Q): In order to pass judgements on BalangodaMan as a frog in the well who thinks he is an elephant, you yourself must be an “elephant”.

    Answer (A): I believe in relativism. In that sense your statement of above is true. It is my belief and I think it is true, according to the available facts and evidence.

    Q: In order to prove that he doesn’t have sufficient knowledge of Scientific Method, you yourself must have supreme knowledge of Scientific Method.

    A: Yes, Though I don’t have a supreme knowledge I believe I have a comparatively higher knowledge in the context you referred, there is no doubt about it in terms of the facts available so far.

    Q: I have seen no evidence of either in your retorts.

    A: I think that is a biased belief. But I think you know the truth.

    Q: I said earlier that if you want to make your argument stick that Sinhalese arrived first by citing genetic evidence,

    A: I showed that it is not reliable by citing entirely different results, gained trough that method. So far the results itself have proved that it is an utter failure so far. What I did was challenging a conclusion based on wrong results and a forceful drive to implement that conclusion.Do you say that forceful conclusion and recommendations to implement were right? Do you then reject the results of the researches referred by me which are entirely different from the previous result cited by the other party? If so how?

    Q: you need to address the disparity in findings between various genetic studies, some of which claim that Sinhalese are most related to Tamils and others that claim that they are related to Bengalis. I waited and waited for you to explain those disparities, but obviously you lack knowledge of genetic theory to do so. So, on what grounds do you have the authority to pass judgement on BalangodaMan’s knowledge of scientific method?

    A: My post citing Sinhalese more related to Bengalis and Natives were response to contradict the earlier proposition by the other party, that Sinhalese are more related to Tamils. When I contradicted the notion of the first proponent, do you think it is my turn again to answer? Several times I reminded the proponent about my contradictory response expecting an answer, but he avoided it shifting his topics to favourable places instead of answering them. On this basis don’t you really think that I do not have an authority to pass judgments on him? I had no counter answers for my queries about his theory.

    Q; Instead, you show yourself to be the proverbial frog in the well. You don’t even seem able to recognize that BalangodaMan is not using obsolete classical critical methods and epistemology but rather poststructuralist ones.

    A: Obsolete classical critical methods and epistemology? I had some respect you as some knowledgeable person. Are you suggesting me to change my opinion? Can you tell me these became obsolete? Do you know that these are again the methods of the day. Empiricism is not an accurate philosophy. Modern knowledge seeking at subtle levels are done on formal philosophy. I think you know that empiricism is based on inductive logic and the accuracy of results obtained using this method is not guaranteed. But the rationalists’ method you are indirectly talking are accurate to the point wrt to the particular knowledge area.

    Which do you think is obsolete?

    Q: BalangodaMan says: “BalangodaMan says: “Future generations will be better educated; they will regard yesterday and today’s ‘racial’ divisions as emerging out of ignorance, our ignorance and that of people who lived centuries ago. We can start regarding us as ‘one people’ right now. Why wait?”

    Do you have a problem with that?

    A: Yes of course.That is an action packed emotional appeals aimed at the gallery.
    ” Future generations will be better educated; they will regard yesterday and today’s…….”

    What an emotionally lovable piece? Do you really think this is true. then the proponent must be more educated than Einstein, because he is belong to a future generation compared to Einstein. These are emotionally comfortable popularistic lies aimed at the gallery. Nothing more?

    Q: Do you have a problem with ideas of unity and equality of people? I suspect you do.

    A: Do not suspect arbitrarily. I have no problem about unity and equal rights of the people of this country. I have repeatedly said that all the people of this county must be given them without any difference. However, taking a hares, elephants, tigers, birds as similar and have no differences cannot be a prerequisite for that. It has no relevance to the first issue. Some people want to attach that mythical second proposition as a tag to the first one and push it with the first one. My opposition is for the second and not to the first.

    Q: Like many people who need to dominate others and establish power over them, you have anxieties about size.

    A: Not at all I want to do it on the basis of the facts provided. On the basis of that there is no doubt about my domination.

    Q: You’re concerned that BalangodaMan’s ideas make him appear to be a bigger person than you. So you need to cut him down to size.

    A: Not at all. He is no match to me. Reality is he does not know his who he is and what his size is. I have seen “Japanese Spitz” trying to fight ” German Shepard” and have seen the end result.

    Q: Your need to do this is so strong that you literally use the words “big” and “small” and other words associated with size.

    A: I have used them in the proper places.

    Q: Sorry to have to tell you this, but nobody is bigger than anyone else.

    A: Who told you this big bunkum? Above statement is a popular myth. There are bigger and smaller people? Are you going to dispute it?

    Q: We are all as vulnerable as the next person.

    A: Totally incorrect.

    Q: We all have the potential to be magnificent people.

    A: Sometimes. We cannot totally reject the possibility.

    Q: One thing about the frog in the well that the proverb ignores—when it looks up, it sees the sky.

    A: For normal frogs it is true. But I am sure this frog cannot turn his eyes up.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Correction……….

    Can you tell me these became obsolete?

    It should be read as

    Can you tell me when these became obsolete?

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    “If I am reading Mr Yapa right, his objection is … ‘the readers of GV should not be discussing Peace and Reconciliation at all’ – evidently Peace and Reconciliation is not on his agenda. He claims that it is his ‘obligation and duty’ to take that position. Clearly Mr Yapa is not looking forward to a peaceful and reconciled Sri Lanka. Where will he go?”

    You were never be able to understand what I have said, and will continue to be so. Peoples capacities has a bearing on their level of understanding.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Correction…

    On this basis don’t you really think that I do not have an authority to pass judgments on him?

    The correct sentence is

    On this basis don’t you really think that I have an authority to pass judgments on him?

    Thanks!

  • longus

    Yapa

    I must tell you that when we say “scinetific method” that doesn’t mean something fallen out of the sky;it’s a set of rules evolved by man over many years which apparently remains the best method to find out the truth about the universe; if a scientific hypothesis repeatedly agrees with experimental evidence over a period of time it becomes a theory and generally accepted to be true-until evidence to the contrary surfaces!- where we have to change the theory. Even without experimental evidence, some theories are accepted as true if they are mathematically sound, but later the experimental evidence might come along. For example einestien’s gereral theory of reletivity was accepted by the scientific community accepted it, only to be confirmed much later. But sometimes even mathematically sound theories are not accepted until the experimental evidence surfaces.eg. the fate of the “super-symmetry” theory and the “string theory” hangs in balance until conclusive experimental evidence is found in the “Hedron collider” now underway in Swiss-Austrian border.

    But the scientific method is not flawless or foolproof. Today’s brilliant theory could to tommrrow’s trash as well. People thought Newton had the ultimate theory in his hands

    until Einstien “proved” it’s not so.Then people thought that Einstien was the ultimate super brain, until the Quantum theory started to cast doubts-and continues to do so!-on his ideas. Already there is enough phenomia that cannot be explained by Einstienian theories.eg.quantum entanglement and “faster than light particles” seen in a Black Hole

    And of late there seems to be a lot olf bias in the scientific community and it has become something like a hiarachy that is intorenent to dissent. It lacks the openness of the early 20th century and gained a habbit of trampling the theories that contradict the established ones.

    So, you are right in assuming that scientists are “frogs in the well”, but wrong in assuming that that scientific method is “looking through small eyes”! Because that is tha best method we have.

  • longus

    BalangodaMan

    In spite of what I said in my response-please dis-regard the errors!-to Yapa, you can’t apply the scientific method to everything in the world. Yes, you can use the genetics to prove a certain lineage between the peoples, but even if you prove something it may not play any role in the way the people(s) think about their relationship. When it comes to established cencepts this is particularly true. The Jews believe their promised land,Israel was founded by Ebraham and they are the chosen people.Moses led them to the promised land when he led them across the Red Sea after escaping slavery in Egypt. They lost their promised land after the 2nd Jewish uprising in 80AD and are still waiting for their Messiah ever since then. Eventhough their “Promised Land was “legally”(ILLEGALLY?) granted by the UN IN 1945,THEY ARE STILL praying at the wailing wall and waiting for their Messiah and the “Promised Land”!

    In other words the meaning of Judaism seems to be lost in the present context, but I haven’t heard anyone questioning it in this way!

    Can you change a belief system of a people,howevermuch it seems to be un-scientific?

    It’s good on the other hand to hear that people like “Belle” talking about reconcilliation with the Sinhalese whom she used to call a “barbaric race”, because until the defeat of the “pet’ organization,LTTE they never gave a thought to that! They only thought that Sinhalese “modayas” could be taken for a long ride!

  • wijayapala

    Dear Belle,

    Sometimes people think I can’t be Indian because of that!

    Are you an Indian?

  • wijayapala

    Academic,

    In this thread, Yapa amused me by claiming his role is fabricating lies to counter the lies of the other side; you do equally well by saying it was not just the LTTE that was bad. Must be that 90% genetic similarity amongst all Sri Lankans, don’t you think?

    LOL That is exactly my point!!

  • wijayapala

    BalangodaMan,

    I don’t think anyone on this thread dismiss the Mahawamsa as ‘a pile of lies’. That would be wrong.</i."

    Are you saying that the illustrious Professor Heshan is wrong??

  • BalangodaMan

    Wijayapala,

    “Are you saying that the illustrious Professor Heshan is wrong??”

    No. I haven’t come across anyone regarding the Mahawamsa as a fake account (‘a pile of lies’) similar to the Turin Shroud, which is not accepted as someone’s 13th century prank. I don’t think Prof Heshan considers it such either. The general objection is to how it has been used to cause division in our country by the Neo-Nazis who stand in the way of lasting peace.

  • BalangodaMan

    My error!

    This ….. “similar to the Turin Shroud, which is not accepted as someone’s 13th century prank.”

    Should of course read “similar to the Turin Shroud, which is NOW accepted as someone’s 13th century prank.”

  • BalangodaMan

    Mr Yapa says
    “A: Do not suspect arbitrarily. I have no problem about unity and equal rights of the people of this country. I have repeatedly said that all the people of this county must be given them without any difference. However, taking a hares, elephants, tigers, birds as similar and have no differences cannot be a prerequisite for that. It has no relevance to the first issue. Some people want to attach that mythical second proposition as a tag to the first one and push it with the first one. My opposition is for the second and not to the first.”

    So here Mr Yapa is making it clear that he regards different ‘races’ similar to different ‘species’ (as I suspected earlier) – the common basis of argument with Neo-Nazis of all countries – a basis that has been totally debunked by recent DNA evidence analysed by the Human Genome Project in the past 30 years.

    (the reference to ‘scientific method’ is in the context of whether our DNA does or does not tell a story about our origins. Please let’s not get into a side-track as did the previous debate, or it may end up with the ludicrous conclusion that ‘peace and reconciliation is untenable because scientific method is flawed’ or some such Yaparistic nonsense !!!!)

    Mr ‘Adolf’ Yapa may not like this news report of yesterday
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1305414/Hitler-descended-Jews-Africans-DNA-tests-reveal.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

    Now here is the problem
    —————————-
    Mr Yapa, how do we find these people that you want to exclude from our society? I mean the ‘invaders’ (in the 12th century) you refer to. Can we assume with 100% confidence that all of them are (by now) dead?

    I think what you have great discomfort with is the realisation that these ‘invaders’ exist today within all Sri Lankans, forming rather a large proportion of ALL of us. It does not take a lot of common sense to work it out, and the maths is not difficult either (900 years represents 36 generations – that’s 2 to the power of 36. More than enough to practically saturate the entire population of SL).

    So, all you can say Mr Yapa is that you have an objection to people who speak a particular language or dress in a certain way today. Or maybe smoke a different brand of cigarettes. Is that a good enough differentiator to chance the future Peace of SL on?

  • Burning_Issue

    Dear Wijayapala,

    Sorry I have been missing for a while on this debate; many people have contributed with valuable posts. In fact, I went to Sri Lanka and visited Jaffna too. I went on land cutting across the Vanni area; all together I have seen 6 Buddha Statues: 2 in Vanni and the rest in the Jaffna district excluding the Naga Vihara. There may be more that I have not seen!

    I must say that I dealt with people from all walks of live; almost exclusively Sinhala both in north and south; none were discourteous to me including the SLA personnel that I encountered. Nevertheless, the overwhelming presence of the army headquartered along the A9 road is uninviting indeed. In the Vanni area, army bases are littered gapping by a kilometer or so!

    Our house is Jaffna is part of the Headquarters of the 512th Brigade and access to it has been denied repeatedly; I have been told that, I need to show the deeds, proof of identity, and evidences of local council rates payments. Opposite of the camp, they ring-fenced a square area of land that belongs to the local Kovil. While I was there, some works were afoot laying turf at the front. There were some Buddhist Monks stationed with SLA; I am convinced that all this was a prelude to erecting a Buddha statue.

    I am flabbergasted that, the state is openly propagating Buddhism by graping land and no one can do anything about it! Certainly, the Sinhalese are the new masters of the Tamils; one can conceivably say that we have never been de-colonised; especially in the absence of a nation of subjects on par with India. I know that no Tamil can be proud of supporting LTTE and separatism but on the same token, how can the Sinhalese be proud of what they have been subjecting the minorities with, Subjugation!

    I have heard from credible sources that, the people who went back to there lands in the Vanni areas are going through intolerable sufferings. Their rations are being with held; sex is expected before handing over their due rations! I have seen along the A9 road; people living between army sentry points in makeshift tents and huts; what protection are there at nights; what can they do and where can they complain!

    People in Jaffna said that, the police can only speak Sinhala and going to make complains etc very troublesome indeed. By contract, the locally stationed army personnel have learned to converse in Tamil; the people are interacting with the army much more than with the police!

    I have more to say………………….

  • yapa

    Dear longus;

    “So, you are right in assuming that scientists are “frogs in the well”, but wrong in assuming that that scientific method is “looking through small eyes”! Because that is tha best method we have.”

    I really know the value of the Scientific Method as you have explained in your post . But in the case I referred the person was telling nonsense in the name of the Scientific Method and deceiving the world. What I meant was this man who has know knowledge of even to measure his size was trying to see the world with his little eyes. Other than doing a great damage, by poking his nose to each and every corner what else he can do?

    He has been asking for the answer for a long time, poor creature.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    “So, all you can say Mr Yapa is that you have an objection to people who speak a particular language or dress in a certain way today. Or maybe smoke a different brand of cigarettes. Is that a good enough differentiator to chance the future Peace of SL on?”

    You have no capacity to understand complex problems. You have displayed that in the past too. You have no competencies to identify the differences of the people other than on the basis of such silly things. Small minds see small things. Go and play with your toys.

  • wijayapala

    Dear Prof Heshan

    I haven’t come across anyone regarding the Mahawamsa as a fake account

    Seems that BalangodaMan isn’t buying your argument.

  • wijayapala

    Dear Yapa (actually this is more for everyone else since you barely respond to me),

    Q: I said earlier that if you want to make your argument stick that Sinhalese arrived first by citing genetic evidence,
    A: I showed that it is not reliable by citing entirely different results, gained trough that method.

    We do not need genetic studies. The simple fact is that Sinhalese and Tamils cannot distinguish each other by physical appearance. We have to rely on things like dress or accent. During the 1983 violence, the jathika thugs would search for Tamils by asking them to pronounce the aeyanna sound because they could not detect Tamils by appearance.

  • wijayapala

    Burning_Issue,

    many people have contributed with valuable posts.

    Really? I felt the only person who wrote anything interesting while you were gone was Travelling Academic.

    What you mentioned is very similar to what I’ve heard from others, such as Dushy Ranetunge’s article. Let me ask: would you feel better if the army bases were gone leaving the Buddha statues by themselves?

  • yapa

    Dear All;

    Do you believe education can make people ignorant? Though it seems a little bit unusual, it could happen. You know learning a language at a later stage of life is a bit more difficult because the the things learned before comes as an obstacle to new learning. This is an example for what I said in my first statement.

    This can happen to people in a more grave way, but it may be a psychological deficiency of the human mind that they don’t realize that grave mistake to the people even after it is pointed out them. They tend to vehemently argue against obvious facts.

    The difference between animals and other non living things (here plants are taken as non living things) is that former has a non material component called mind. Among all the animals human has a significant difference, because his non muscle component plays a major role than their muscle part. So it is correct to argue that man is more none material than material. Significance of the mind in present day activities of man is very much more than his muscular activities. Hence today’s man is a more psychological man than a muscular or genetical man. Human differences are more decided by the “thinking factor” rather than the inactive genetical factor. People all over the world have human genes, still you cannot find two individuals with equal behaviour. If somebody tries to explain complex human behaviour confining to genetical component along he is sadly mistaken. That is why Descartes said ” I think, therefore I am”.
    That is why Aristotle said “Man is a social/political animal”. Really man is the thinking animal.

    Differences in the human kind is mainly formed not on their genetic but on their thinking or the culture formed on this thinking capability of the man. Hence the the basis for analysis of social behaviour of the man should be more weighted towards their ethnicity more than the race or genetics. This is simple logic. If somebody says just because there is no genetical difference, it implies there are no differences at all or no significant difference, I have to say that he does not know simplest logic. If so, Chinese must be Japanese, and Japanese must be Mongolians, Burmese, Taiwanese and as I said Iranians must be Americans. Also Brits, Australians, French, Italian also should be given American citizenship. Look around the world, is this the reality? The problem is some people don’t see this reality. They ask me to pin point the difference between Sinhalese and Tamils. They have no capacity to think that 30 year prolonged ethnic war was an effect of these differences. Are they thinking the cause of this ethnic war was the similarities found in them?

    Even an ignorant rustic of a remote village understands the war took place due to the differences found in Tamils and Sinhalese, but these learned gentlemen who have physically traveled all over the world, and living luxurious lives in foreign countries do not understand this simple reality. They want me to tell them the differences. They have not traveled the world with their minds.Or else they must have done so with closed eyes.

    Letting comfortable emotions overcome self is easier than critical thinking. With that it is easier to recommend simple solutions to the national level and worldwide problems without worries. Mathematics is very easy, one can say though they get zero for it.

    I have heard of a story that a country full of men with donkey heads. The king and all the advisers are of the same clan. There are some vacancies I came to understand. Those who like can apply.

    Ohoma yun! Ohoma yun!!

    Thanks!

  • Belle

    Longus,

    “It’s good on the other hand to hear that people like “Belle” talking about reconcilliation with the Sinhalese whom she used to call a “barbaric race”, because until the defeat of the “pet’ organization,LTTE they never gave a thought to that! They only thought that Sinhalese “modayas” could be taken for a long ride!”

    I only started posting in Groundviews AFTER the defeat of the LTTE, so the many critical comments I made of the Sri Lankan Sinhalese community had nothing to do with wanting to take Sinhalese for a long ride. In fact, at that time, hundreds of thousands of innocent SL Tamil civilians were incarcerated in camps. There was no question then nor now of Sinhalese being the ones taken for a ride.

    I am not an LTTE sympathizer. But of course you know that. This accusation of Tamil forummers here being LTTE sympathizers is always trotted out by Sinhalese forummers here when they suffer from an argument deficit.

    I challenge you to cite posts where I say that Sinhalese are a barbaric “race”. I don’t believe in race–it is an utterly stupid and futile concept that dissolves into nonsense as soon as you start to interrogate it. I have certainly made critical comments about the barbarism and racism that Sinhalese have exhibited in their behaviour. I have no doubt that thousands (if not 10s of thousands) of innocent Tamil civilians were mown down by the SL army in order to win the war against the LTTE. The SL government then proceeded to incarcerate war refugees in barbed wire camps, and no Sinhalese went out into the streets to demonstrate against such cruelty. In fact, the Sinhalese went on to indicate their approval of such tyranny by voting for the tyrants. This war was not the first time either that the SL government committed massacres (not only against Tamils), and where the majority community went on to vote for the party that perpetrated such violence. So, yes, I would say there is some level of acceptance that violence is the way to solve problems. And racism certainly is embedded deep in Sri Lanka. Otherwise, there wouldn’t have been an ethnic conflict that has dogged the country since it became a nation.

    I don’t say these things to subjugate anyone. Peace and reconciliation can only come with facing up to one’s own mistakes, with self-examination. If you want to paper over them, you will only get an ironically treacherous ‘peace and reconciliation’ that is used to dominate the vanquished people—which is what is happening now. The Tamils have long had to face up to their mistakes because the Sinhalese groups in power and the millions who support them are extremely adept at pointing fingers at everyone but themselves.

    That you and some others here actually think at this moment in time that it is the Sinhalese who are being taken for a ride just goes to prove the level of delusion you labour under and the kind of absolute power you enjoy—where you can state clear untruths and get away with it.

  • Belle

    Wijayapala,

    “Are you an Indian?”

    It seems I am so in Singapore! You may have read about Singapore’s policy of multiracialism (as opposed to multiculturalism). Under this policy, people are classified under only four groups: Chinese, Malay, Indian and Others. Sometimes they also recognize another group: “Eurasian”! Can you beat that–it seems mixed-blood people form a new race! And for some strange reason (perhaps the history of SL migration to Malaya), they also sometimes recognize “Sri Lankan” as a racial group (but only sometimes). I have “Sri Lankan” written on my identity card against “race” (assigned to me) but most people here see me as Indian. When asked, I usually claim to be the “Other” because, in truth, I have no idea what “Race” I am (and have no interest in knowing).

  • yapa

    Small addition……………..

    Today man is a thinking animal as I said above, However, BalangodaMan lived in caves several thousand years had not grown up to that level. His genetical component is still prominent. He still is a genetical animal.

    Thanks!

  • Heshan

    “I haven’t come across anyone regarding the Mahawamsa as a fake account”

    If you believe that a lion and a woman can have intercourse, please say so explicitly.

  • Belle

    Yapa,
    “The difference between animals and other non living things (here plants are taken as non living things) is that former has a non material component called mind.”

    Perhaps you’d like to look up the difference between psychology and neuropsychology, and psychology vs psychiatry.

  • Diffpersepective

    Belle,

    “In fact, at that time, hundreds of thousands of innocent SL Tamil civilians were incarcerated in camps ” and “The SL government then proceeded to incarcerate war refugees in barbed wire camps,” — You mean rescued from being human shields of the Sun God and the LTTE and then given refuge in Camps…

    Here is what has happened to those you call “incarcerated people” just after one year, coming from none other than the UN Country Rep In SL………

    “UN Resident and Country Representative Neil Buhne yesterday said that 90% of the IDPs in the North had been resettled. Addressing a programme held to commemorate World Humanitarian Day, Mr. Bhune said resettlement of IDPs should be complete within the coming months. “We hope that future humanitarian work will only be needed for people who are affected by natural disasters,” he said. He said there were many development works that had been done by the UN during the previous year in Sri Lanka and they including the controlling of disease out-break in the Menik Farm, the reduction of malnutrition in children under five, 2% of which had remained stable since then and the registration of over 57,000 students in the newly opened schools in the North.”

    So according to you the Govt incarcerated these people for just one year.Some even less…..I wonder why??? Your choice of words are a ridiculous description of a tragic event!!!

    Source;
    http://www.dailymirror.lk/print/index.php/news/front-image/19047-90-idps-resettled-in-north-says-un.html

  • Belle

    Diffperspective,

    “You mean rescued from being human shields of the Sun God and the LTTE and then given refuge in Camps…”

    No, I mean “incarcerated”. Refugees are allowed to move about in camps and receive visitors.

    “So according to you the Govt incarcerated these people for just one year.Some even less…..I wonder why??? Your choice of words are a ridiculous description of a tragic event!!!”

    They were only incarcerated for a year because of IC pressure and the threat of withheld world funds. I wonder about other things–such as why LTTE cadres were able to buy themselves out of camp within weeks of the war’s end while innocent Tamil civilians caught in the war had to be incarcerated, some as much as for a year. Or why these same innocent civilians had to suffer in the camps while senior LTTE figures were set free.

    As for the UN saying 90% had been resettled, that really depends on what that term means. Does “resettlement” include taking people from camps and dumping them elsewhere on roadsides? Does resettlement mean settling them elsewhere than in their homes?

    As for the news report, please try reading the UN’s and Buhne’s words carefully, especially this: ““We hope that future humanitarian work will only be needed for people who are affected by natural disasters,” he said. What he is saying is that he “hopes” that the SL government will behave responsibly. We can infer that the signs of this are not currently present. He also then outlines UN aid for the Menik Farm, i.e. the aid, especially in terms of health services, was NOT provided by the SL government. And only 2% of children remained stable after suffering from malnutrition? What happened to the remaining 98%? Did they die?

    It’s pretty obvious that the UN is trying a less-than-aggressive approach with the SL government. Guess they’ve figured that sucking up works better with this gang of nepotists.

  • Observer

    Heshan said,

    “I haven’t come across anyone regarding the Mahawamsa as a fake account”

    If you believe that a lion and a woman can have intercourse, please say so explicitly.

    There are also lot of people who believe Jesus resurrected. But then there are lot of people who doesn;t go around saying that dead people can rise from the dead. Catch my drift??

    I am not exactly sure of the size of genitalia of a lion, but intercourse maybe physically possible. However, conception is another matter! :-P Again some people believe in creationism as opposed to evolution…

    Mahawansha may have it’s exaggerations, like lot of very ancient historical accounts do, but it is the only recorded concise reference we have and it has been cross correlated many times with other historical, archeological finds. Point is it is not all fiction!

    Heshan, do you believe in a god? Then buddy, nothing else is far fetched! If god created Adam and Eve, then so did god possibly create a lion and a woman and the off spring as Sinhalese!! ROFL!! (I am not being serious btw, so don;t put me into the looney bin….yet…. just pointing out the crazy side)

  • Observer

    I have no idea what “Race” I am (and have no interest in knowing).

    Really now??? so why don;t you talk against injustices being done against Afghans then? Or Iraqis? Heck dare I even say, injustices being done against Sinhalese? If you don’t know, then you may be an Afghan or another race…you know since you never checked. What I’m saying is you could possibly be rooting for the wrong team! Or even worse you could have possibly turned up at the wrong game all together.

  • Burning_Issue

    Wijayapala,

    “Let me ask: would you feel better if the army bases were gone leaving the Buddha statues by themselves?”

    Before I answer your question, please tell me that; I say that propagating Buddhism by the state at the dawn of victory in lands that belong to private people/organisations amounts to sheer aggression from the majority. The majority community has no intention to reconcile with the Tamils. What do you say?

    Is there any justice for the Vanni people who settled in the homes against the vultures in SLA? The SLA is not disciplined after all!

  • Belle

    Observer,
    “Really now??? so why don;t you talk against injustices being done against Afghans then? Or Iraqis?”

    Why do you assume that I don’t?

    “If you don’t know, then you may be an Afghan or another race…you know since you never checked.”

    Aren’t you confusing race with nationality?

    “What I’m saying is you could possibly be rooting for the wrong team! Or even worse you could have possibly turned up at the wrong game all together.”

    What race are SL Tamils and Sinhalese? Are they Caucasian since Indians are classified as Caucasian and we originated from India? Some geneticists have linked Dravidian people to Southeast Asia, hence placing them in the Mongoloid or East Asian group. Others link them to Australian aboriginals, which makes them Oceanian. Some say Dravidians came out from Africa. Then there are the Veddahs, and the Sinhalese, with whom no doubt there was mixing. But Veddahs are tribals, and hence not Caucasoid or Indo-Aryan.

    How could I be rooting for the wrong team? Who decides which is the right team for me? Who is setting up the rules? You?

  • Belle

    Longus,
    Just wondering: are the Sinhalese “modayas” the equivalent of the Tamil “maddayans”?

  • Heshan

    Observer:

    Nice try, but no one here has tried to made the claim that the Bible should be used as a piece of objective historical material .

    but it is the only recorded concise reference we have and it has been cross correlated many times with other historical, archeological finds.

    But it has also conflicted many times with “historical, archeological finds.”

    These conflicts are so major that they undermine the entire credibility of the Mahavamsa!

    Although the Mahavamsa says that Asoka handed over his own children to the temple and sent them to Sri Lanka to convert the King of Sri Lanka to Buddhism, Asoka has made no mention of this in his own Edicts.

    Prof. Herman Oldenberg (1854-1920), the great German scholar of Indology and professor, studied and researched the Buddha and his teachings in Pali. His study on the Buddha, published in 1881, helped popularize Buddhism and still remains continuously in print. In association with Thomas William Rhys Davids (1843 -1922), the British scholar of the Pali language, he founded the Pali Text Society in 1881. Professor Oldenberg translated three volumes of Vinaya Pitakaya texts and many other Pali texts and sutras into English. Thus the contributions made by these German and British scholars in providing broader access to the Buddhist scriptures written originally in Pali, (the language in which the texts of the Theravada school of Buddhism is preserved) are enormous.

    In Herman Oldenberg`s assessment the stories related to the conversion of Sri Lanka to Buddhism by Mahinda and Sangamitta are PURE INVENTIONS. As referred to by G.C. Mendis in The Mahavamsa or the Great Chronicle of Ceylon (1950 edition, page xvi and xvii) there are doubts as to why Asoka in his 13th century Rock Edicts, in the Rock-Edict XIII in particular, has failed to mention his own son Mahinda and daughter Sangamitta being handed over to the temple, and also their role in converting the Sri Lankan king to Buddhism.

    http://www.lankanewspapers.com/news/2009/3/41581_space.html

    The above would actually correspond somewhat with what BalangodaMan said – that the original Buddhism on the island may have been a form of Tamil Buddhism. I do not necessarily subscribe to the latter view, but the point is that when you discredit Mahavamsa, suddenly many alternative theories seem credible.

    So the question is why Mahavamsa should be the theory of theories? In fact, the alternative views seem more credible; e.g. I would rather believe that Tamil Buddhists existed than that a lion and a woman copulated.

  • Heshan

    Observer:

    Heshan, do you believe in a god? Then buddy, nothing else is far fetched! If god created Adam and Eve, then so did god possibly create a lion and a woman and the off spring as Sinhalese!! ROFL!! (I am not being serious btw, so don;t put me into the looney bin….yet…. just pointing out the crazy side)

    Do you believe that you can be reborn again as a snail, a pig, or Paris Hilton’s offspring? The Adam and Eve story is much saner actually – though it is obviously not true.

  • longus

    As BalangodaMan suggested I think the Buddhists should allow a scientific investigation in order to assess the age of the Tooth Relic and the Sri Maha Bodhi. First it should be acertained that the Tooth Relic is”human”, because it is recorded when Henry Steel Alcott stated that the Tooth Relic can’t be human,after seeing it,it drew an angry reaction from Anagarika Dharmapala!

    These things should be open to investigation, because as far as I know Buddhism in its original form doesn’t try to conceal the reality from the desciples.

    Heshan, what do you say about the events mentioned in Mahawansa, which match the archiological evidence?

    Belle, you may have started to post after May 2009, but your anger with the Sinhalese didn’t subside until now,right? You were using collectively derogatory terms on Sinhalese and there were volcanic outbursts by you at the mention of Tamils as racists. Have you met a Sinhalese with a long nose of late????

  • wijayapala

    Dear Belle,

    I only started posting in Groundviews AFTER the defeat of the LTTE

    Why?

    I have certainly made critical comments about the barbarism and racism that Sinhalese have exhibited in their behaviour… no Sinhalese went out into the streets to demonstrate against such cruelty.

    As I have maintained in this thread and elsewhere, Sinhalese and Tamils seem to have a common mentality behind this sort of behavior. What you’re saying above hardly sounds different from the inaction of Tamils after numerous suicide bombings, the expulsion of Muslims from the north in 1990, or the killing of thousands of fellow Tamil “traitors” throughout the war. So perhaps a more constructive approach would be to gain an understanding of this common mentality which I suspect has a sociological, rather than culture/community-specific explanation.

    The Tamils have long had to face up to their mistakes because the Sinhalese groups in power and the millions who support them are extremely adept at pointing fingers at everyone but themselves.

    I had no idea at all that Tamils accept what “Sinhalese groups in power” say without question. Do you think this will help or hurt reconciliation?

    They were only incarcerated for a year because of IC pressure and the threat of withheld world funds.

    How come they weren’t able to pressure SL into halting the offensive?

  • wijayapala

    Prof Heshan

    How come you can’t find anyone on google to support your views except for Lankamithra Fernando, whom I exposed as a fraud on Asiantribune??

    His study on the Buddha, published in **1881**, helped popularize Buddhism and still remains continuously in print.

    How oh how did you find such current, up-to-date research?

    As referred to by G.C. Mendis in The Mahavamsa or the Great Chronicle of Ceylon (1950 edition, page xvi and xvii) there are doubts as to why Asoka in his 13th century Rock Edicts, in the Rock-Edict XIII in particular, has failed to mention his own son Mahinda and daughter Sangamitta being handed over to the temple, and also their role in converting the Sri Lankan king to Buddhism.

    The fact that Dr. Fernando (and you) refer to the Mauryan sovereign with his Mahavamsa name “Asoka” speaks volumes as to your insight into the topic.

    I expected eminent scholars like you two to understand basic laws of logical reasoning. You can’t prove anything through an argumentum ex silentio. Lack of mention of Mahinda or Sanghamitta in the Rock Edicts does not prove that they did not exist.

    Please read:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argumentum_ex_silentio

    As for evidence showing that Mahinda was a historical person:
    http://mingkok.buddhistdoor.com/en/news/d/11366

    For more evidence (and a longer rebuttal of Lankamithra):
    http://www.asiantribune.com/index.php?q=node/7132

    “In case Dr. Fernando feels like recycling V.A. Smith’s erroneous conclusions about Mahinda and Sanghamitta from the dustbin of his first article, I would direct him to Geiger’s observation that the remains of certain luminaries of the Mahavamsa’s 3rd Council were found at the Sanchi stupa in India. One burial urn contains two of the five “Hemavata” (Himalaya) theros: Majjhima, Kassapagotta, and Dundubhissara. The latter two monks are mentioned in the Mahavamsa commentary, but Majjhima is described in the Mahavamsa itself as the thera who converted the Himalayas. Another urn is inscribed with “Moggaliputta,” presumably referring to the great Moggaliputta-Tissa, the teacher of Mahinda.”

  • wijayapala

    Burning_Issue,

    I am sorry that you no longer have your house. There is something that I would like to point out.

    Before the war began, Sinhala racism was far worse than it is today but there was no SLA nor Buddha in your backyard. You may not believe me but what is happening today is not some grand conspiracy to disappear Tamils. Instead it is the result of when any large army occupies a place. The reason the SLA is there is because of the LTTE. Now LTTE is gone and the next task is to move SLA somewhere else or to give the soldiers other jobs in civilian life.

    The SLA is not disciplined after all!

    I have a Sinhala friend who also visited Jaffna. This may surprise you but he told me that many soldiers felt guilty about what was happening to the Tamils. He mentioned that while the govt helped Sinhalese to move back to Padaviya where the LTTE had chased them out, it did not give similar help to Tamils.

    Whatever the SLA is doing it is ordered by the govt and Gotabhaya. It is not the same undisciplined mob it was in the 1980s. If anything the problem is that it has too much discipline and carries out orders without questioning.

  • Diffperspective

    Belle,

    “They were only incarcerated for a year because of IC pressure and the threat of withheld world funds” – I guess there is no satisfying people like you!!! “you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t”. and you will always have your theories…however unreal they maybe,,, and pray..what funds are we talking here??? surely not the IMF that has been coming in without interruption. and in Billions…..:)

    “Does “resettlement” include taking people from camps and dumping them elsewhere on roadsides? Does resettlement mean settling them elsewhere than in their homes?” – For me, resettlement means they have been given a permanent place to restart their lives, some maybe in their original lands and others maybe in new areas… However, since you seem to be convinced otherwise.. you will have to get the clarity you seek from the UN who is making the statement… I am quite sure they know exactly what “resettlement” is and the definition of the word and are using it accurately…!!! But then again you seem to be more knowledgeable in these matters than the UN… :) Why don’t you challenge their statement publicly and prove your insinuations????

    : ““We hope that future humanitarian work will only be needed for people who are affected by natural disasters,” he said. What he is saying is that he “hopes” that the SL government will behave responsibly. We can infer that the signs of this are not currently present.” —You must be joking… I infer this to be that he hopes we will not have any more man made disasters like this where the so called “saviors” and their leader the “sun god” keeping civilians as human shields and hiding among the civilians!!!!! even you have accepted these LTTE chaps were hiding among the civilians!!! So different interpretations… we will have to get clarity from Buhne himself on this too….:)

    “He also then outlines UN aid for the Menik Farm, i.e. the aid, especially in terms of health services, was NOT provided by the SL government. And only 2% of children remained stable after suffering from malnutrition? What happened to the remaining 98%? Did they die?” — I am sure even you can understand that he is only outlining what the UN has done not what any one else has done …… the rest obviously was done by the SL Govt and others like the ICRC etc…… Where does he say the SL Govt has “NOT Provided” .. he cannot speak for the Govt or other organizations….. so he is silent .. your conclusions on this statement shows how one sided you are!!! …

    “Guess they’ve figured that sucking up works better with this gang of nepotists.” – oh yeah… sucking up I’m sure… What with that “Panel of Experts” and all… nice way to suck up!!! Real intelligent!!!! :)

  • ModVoice

    Travelling Academic,

    Oh man, I do not deny LTTE’s crimes and I am not fond of ‘em or violent/non-democratic path to be precise, just as anybody else. However, it is also important to analyze why the democratic path failed to achieve anything – the fact is, like it or not, only the LTTE held political bargaining power for an otherwise powerless minority group. Afterall, without the support of the wider Tamil community, it would not have been possible for LTTE to wage a war against a state for nearly three decades. The fact also remains that the power struggle of the marginalized groups that brought about the rebellions still remains unresolved and a cold war is now protracted in the name of preventing re-grouping of LTTE. I, for one, do not have much hope for Tamils remaining there and there are little alternatives left for them.

    “In this thread, Yapa amused me by claiming his role is fabricating lies to counter the lies of the other side; you do equally well by saying it was not just the LTTE that was bad. Must be that 90% genetic similarity amongst all Sri Lankans, don’t you think? Bye for now.”

    But you admit we are 10% different – I think Yapa would appreciate it.

  • Burning_Issue

    Wijayapala,

    “I am sorry that you no longer have your house. There is something that I would like to point out.”

    I am sorry too; we intend to fight for it. We can sketch the area ascertaining as to who lived where; we intend to document the then demography of the area along with copies of the respective deeds and lodge a complaint; if need be we will file a lawsuit.

    “Before the war began, Sinhala racism was far worse than it is today but there was no SLA nor Buddha in your backyard.”

    I am sure one can say the same about the Tamils; the Tamil nationalism was at its high point pre-war. I did not detect any animosity from the Tamils towards the Sinhala now. Of course, the Tamils appear insecure and destitute but not bestow hatred. I do not think that the Tamils possess strong opinions about Buddha statues literally. I do welcome the presence of Buddhist places of worships within the North & East. We need the Sinhala people to spread out in those areas freely and set up Buddhist Viharas etc. But, what we see is state orchestrated propagation of Buddhism! When one sees a Buddha statue in the North, one can feel the pulse the Sinhala Buddhist nationalism; this is wrong. My opposition the Buddhism in the constitution is well vindicated; the state is acting in accordance of the constitution!

    “ You may not believe me but what is happening today is not some grand conspiracy to disappear Tamils.”

    Whether there is any conspiracy or not, it certainly seems that there is an organised approach encompassing the government and the Buddhist hierarchy. I do not see articles on any of the front line newspapers about such issues informing the common Sinhala folks. I do not see the Sinhala intellectuals debating about this very fact rendering it as undemocratic and hindering to race relations. The majority of the Sinhala approve of what is afoot in the North & East; who can speak on behalf of the Tamils; the Tamils have no voice!
    “Instead it is the result of when any large army occupies a place.”

    You mean on par with the Portuguese, Dutch and the English; like they established their churches, the SLA is instilling the Buddhist flavour! Only difference is that, unlike the colonists, no other places of warships have been destroyed.

    “ The reason the SLA is there is because of the LTTE. Now LTTE is gone and the next task is to move SLA somewhere else or to give the soldiers other jobs in civilian life.”

    I agree; only one hope is that, GOSl cannot sustain and maintain the current military spending for too long; something has got to give; there need to be cutbacks; logistically impossible to maintain such military infrastructure for too long. The People of the North hope that, no one will upset the peace and there will be no excuse for GOSL to prolong the military siege of the Tamil people.
    “I have a Sinhala friend who also visited Jaffna. This may surprise you but he told me that many soldiers felt guilty about what was happening to the Tamils. He mentioned that while the govt helped Sinhalese to move back to Padaviya where the LTTE had chased them out, it did not give similar help to Tamils.”

    Not just the Tamils, the Muslims also are not being attended to in the Mannar district!

    http://www.groundviews.org/2010/08/26/where-do-they-go-from-here/#respond

    “Whatever the SLA is doing it is ordered by the govt and Gotabhaya. It is not the same undisciplined mob it was in the 1980s. If anything the problem is that it has too much discipline and carries out orders without questioning.”

    The same Gotabhaya whom you defended as saying that best to occupy as the Defence Secretary! Certainly, the MR regime is good for the Sinhala Buddhists; is it good for Sri Lanka as a nation?

  • Belle

    Wijayapala,

    “Why?”

    Because as long as the LTTE was around, nobody could do anything. I was actually naive enough to think that, with the end of the war, the situation had a chance to be resolved.

    “As I have maintained in this thread and elsewhere, Sinhalese and Tamils seem to have a common mentality behind this sort of behavior. What you’re saying above hardly sounds different from the inaction of Tamils after numerous suicide bombings, the expulsion of Muslims from the north in 1990, or the killing of thousands of fellow Tamil “traitors” throughout the war. So perhaps a more constructive approach would be to gain an understanding of this common mentality which I suspect has a sociological, rather than culture/community-specific explanation.”

    You can’t compare the absence of civil society action by a community during peace time (i.e. after the war) with that of another community’s lack of protest while under occupation by a terrorist regime during a civil war. At any rate, the Sinhalese came out to protest against the treatment of Fonseka, and other causes—but not the incarceration of innocent Tamil civilians. I wouldn’t say the Sinhalese are a politically quiescent community–there are just some causes they don’t care about. Ill treatment of Tamils as a community is one.

    “I had no idea at all that Tamils accept what “Sinhalese groups in power” say without question. Do you think this will help or hurt reconciliation?”

    I didn’t say that they uncritically accept what is said, but I’m sure they reflect on it. You can’t help but question yourself about your character flaws and errors of judgement when others are perpetually throwing it in your face. Like I said, if the other side does not care to do such self-reflection, the “reconciliation” will be a fake and treacherous one.

    “How come they weren’t able to pressure SL into halting the offensive?”

    For the same reason–too much money to be made. As you yourself have said, the current regime does not care about race or religion. It’s about money, and power, and going down in the history books.

  • Heshan

    How come you can’t find anyone on google to support your views except for Lankamithra Fernando

    I have already proven that the vast majority of academics in SL and elsewhere do not consider Mahavamsa to be an objective source of historical material.

    Lack of mention of Mahinda or Sanghamitta in the Rock Edicts does not prove that they did not exist.

    Neither does it prove that they came to SL either. Unfortunately for you, Mahavamsa asserts that they did come to SL; therefore, we clearly have a case where Mahavamsa cannot be cross-referenced and validated with a very important historical source.

  • Belle

    Diffperspective,

    “oh yeah… sucking up I’m sure… What with that “Panel of Experts” and all… nice way to suck up!!! Real intelligent!!!!”

    So, you believe that all is hunky-dory between SL and UN now, given Buhne’s remarks? A month or so ago, the UN Sec-Gen’s effigy was burned, at the instigation of SL government elements. You think a UN official is saying these things because he believes them? The turnabout doesn’t sound fishy to you? Grow a brain. Watch out for the hidden daggers.

    Just wondering–at summit meetings, when all the big powers make nice, sucky noises about each other to the media, do you actually believe what they’re saying?

  • Belle

    Burning_Issue,

    Glad to hear that you will fight for your home. Best wishes in your endeavour.

  • BalangodaMan

    Burning_issue,

    Hope you get your home back. I would apologise on behalf of my fellow countrymen but I might be somewhat unrepresentative. Good luck.

  • Observer

    absolutely you should not root for any team but humanity. not just that other living animals as well. i had the impression, you’re only rooting for only one team because you’re quick to suggest to us sri lankans that we should take advice from other countries which have even scantier disregard for human rights to form our own policies! either that or you like all races but sinhalese for what ever reasons.

    nationality and race go hand in glove. every nationality has a majority race that defines them. for instance, anglo saxons form the majority of many western nations. so you tell me then does the afghans not belong to a race then? no point getting all technical if you don’t have an answer to the underlying message.

  • Belle

    Diffperspective,

    Perhaps someone with “real intelligence” such as yourself can explain some discrepancies that Buhne made in remarks six days AFTER the World Humanitarian Day occasion you quoted.

    In an August 26 Reuters report, Buhne says that 200K of the IDPs have been resettled, while 100K are in transit camps near their home areas, and another 35K are in emergency sites.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSSGE67P0JY

    In a Canadian press report, the UN is reported to have said that 200K have been resettled, and about 70K are in transit camps near their home areas, of which 35K are still in emergency sites. In this report, Buhne says things that contradict the earlier report you cited. He said: “The job is not yet done. It is still a critical period and we ask for your continued support to meet the remaining crucial needs,” Neil Buhne, the U.N. resident co-ordinator in Sri Lanka, told a meeting of donors.
    http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5hLh9MW0nvDuEaGrY-DCmTTdMv1vw

    In the Daily Mirror Lanka report you cited, graphics indicate that 232 have been re-settled, while 35 K are still in IDP camps). Those figures are the only ones that justify a close to 90% assessment. And Buhne is cited as quoting them. Could they be GOSL figures since Buhne’s later quotes of figures do not add up to 90% resettlement?

    Indeed, if you read a UN report of the same World Humanitarian Day event, you will find that it claims that GOSL, NOT Buhne, said that 90% had been resettled.
    http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=90305

    I also found that the World Humanitarian Day function with its buffed up numbers was not reported by the international press, whereas Buhne’s assessment to donors that re-settlement continues to be a crucial concern was reported by the international press but not by the SL media.

  • Belle

    Error in my post above–Reuters report says 100K are still displaced, of which 35K are in emergency sites.

  • Belle

    Observer,

    “nationality and race go hand in glove. every nationality has a majority race that defines them. for instance, anglo saxons form the majority of many western nations.”

    For a long time, the majority African race of South Africa had no relation to South African nation identity. Currently, South African nationalism doesn’t refer to any specific race. Scandinavians make up the majority race in Norway, Finland and Denmark—are you saying then that, as nations, they are entirely the same? Go tell the Welsh and Scots, and Black British that Anglo-Saxons define British identity. Americans, Brits, Australians, and Canadians then have the same nationality because they are made up of a majority of Anglo-Saxons?

    Nations aren’t defined by the majority race. They are defined by a national culture, i.e. one that all races/ethnic groups share in common, and/or one that they have created together. Nationality refers to your citizenship, not to your race.

    If you look at the flag or other symbols that define a nation, you will note that there are often references to the multiple cultures of the nation.

    “so you tell me then does the afghans not belong to a race then?”

    Afghans may all be of one nationality, but they belong to different racial groups and racial sub-groups. Pashtuns and Tajiks are of Mediterranean Caucasian descent, but Hazara and other have mixtures of different types of Mongolian or East Asian descent. Many other groups are of various Turkic origins. So, no, they are not racially similar.

  • longus

    The reason for the desparity of the results of the survey conducted on the DNA of the Sinhalese, is the location from wich they have taken the samples. It is sometimes not well known even among the relevent population where their origins are. Most of the Sinhalese living in the South-Western coastal regions (areas like Hikkaduwa,Dodunduwa and Boossa) have their ancestry in the South Indian mercenaries brought here to fight wars for the Sinhalese kings. Subsequently they settled here and inter-married with Sinhalese as well. Some of their surnames like Agampodi(a derivative of Agampadi-meaning “a paid soldier”)and Thuppahige (meaning an outsider)proves this point. Most people in this area have in fact Tamil surnames(“ge” names) This explains how the mixing of genetic matter might have taken place. In some other areas of Sri Lanka the same process might have taken place as well.

    As I stated in another place what matters is the ethnic identity perceived by the person -as to his ethnic identity;not the historical or scientific evidence.

    For that matter if you analyse the DNA of the Maldivians you might find that it is very similar to the Sinhalese considering the fact that their language Divehi resembles Sinhala to a great extent,but I wonder whether the Maldivians would acknowledge this fact!

  • wijayapala

    Prof Heshan

    I graciously accept your admission of defeat in your inability to answer my previous post.

    I have already proven that the vast majority of academics in SL and elsewhere do not consider Mahavamsa to be an objective source of historical material.

    No you have not. You cited only a single SL scholar who lived 60 years ago.

    Unfortunately for you, Mahavamsa asserts that they did come to SL; therefore, we clearly have a case where Mahavamsa cannot be cross-referenced and validated with a very important historical source.

    Unfortunately for you, I provided not only evidence that Mahinda existed but several of his contemporaries mentioned in Mahavamsa and interred in India as well.

    You on the other hand have provided nothing to substantiate your claims save for an unqualified patents man citing scholars who lived over a 100 years ago and whose views have long been debunked.

  • wijayapala

    Burning_Issue

    Best of luck in getting your house back. I wish there was something I could do to help.

    it certainly seems that there is an organised approach encompassing the government and the Buddhist hierarchy.

    I disagree. What do you mean by Buddhist “hierarchy?” Is there such a hierarchy for Hinduism or Islam in SL?

    I do not see articles on any of the front line newspapers about such issues informing the common Sinhala folks. I do not see the Sinhala intellectuals debating about this very fact rendering it as undemocratic and hindering to race relations.

    This is an easy one to answer. We don’t have any intellectuals!

    You mean on par with the Portuguese, Dutch and the English; like they established their churches, the SLA is instilling the Buddhist flavour!

    There is one slight difference- there had been Buddhist sites in the region previously which disappeared as Buddhism disappeared. Kantarodai is one of the last surviving of those sites.

    The same Gotabhaya whom you defended as saying that best to occupy as the Defence Secretary!

    Who is better?

    Certainly, the MR regime is good for the Sinhala Buddhists;

    I’m not sure that I agree, after hearing him talk about God which is not part of Buddhism.

  • wijayapala

    Belle,

    Because as long as the LTTE was around, nobody could do anything. I was actually naive enough to think that, with the end of the war, the situation had a chance to be resolved.

    Using your own logic that nothing can be resolved now, shouldn’t that mean you should be as quiet now as you were when the LTTE was around?

    I wouldn’t say the Sinhalese are a politically quiescent community–there are just some causes they don’t care about.

    Sooo… just like the Tamils?

    You can’t compare the absence of civil society action by a community during peace time (i.e. after the war) with that of another community’s lack of protest while under occupation by a terrorist regime during a civil war.

    Last time I checked, the Tamils living in Colombo or the diaspora had never lived under occupation by a terrorist regime.

    “How come they weren’t able to pressure SL into halting the offensive?”
    For the same reason–too much money to be made.

    From what?

  • Belle

    Longus,

    “As I stated in another place what matters is the ethnic identity perceived by the person -as to his ethnic identity;not the historical or scientific evidence.”

    Yes, ethnic identity is a perception. But lots of people, and not only in Sri Lanka, confuse race and ethnicity, and race becomes part of the perception of ethnic identity. For eg, Yapa, who claims he is only talking about ethnic identities but makes it a point to refer to Tamils repeatedly as “Dravidian”, which is a purely racial category. Why don’t Sinhalese Buddhists and Sinhalese Christians come to bloody communal conflict? Why is there a resistance to accepting the notion that Sinhalese and SL Tamils are racially similar, despite the fact that people can’t tell them apart? Can people commit the kind of physical violence and violation against another community that Sinhalese and SL Tamils have managed for these past decades while thinking that the only way they are different is in their ethnic cultures, their religions, their languages? You have to believe that the other’s treachery or threat to yourself lies in their body, their genes, for violent ethnic conflict to occur and for one community to entirely disidentify with another. German Jews lived for centuries in Germany, marginalized and suspected for their religion but generally allowed to go their own way. It took the Nazi discourse of race to fuel the drive to exterminate them. Ethnic cultural aspects of Jewish life, even their material success, were given a racial causation in the Nazi discourse of the Jewish race. Suddenly, the Jews were not considered to be German–just as here, there are challenges to SL Tamil claims to be Sri Lankan.

    I’ve always been puzzled by Sinhalese bitterness that the SL Tamils apparently did better than Sinhalese under colonial rule. But why massacre them (pre-LTTE) when the Sinhalese, being in political power as the majority, could always ensure that equal opportunities prevailed through government policies? On the other hand, there appears to be no such rancour against the rich Sinhalese families that dominated colonial life, and the Sinhalese polity seem quite happy to let these people continue to enjoy such privilege even today.

  • Heshan

    Mr. Wijayapala:

    It doesn’t matter if Mendis lived 20000 years ago; many people since his time have agreed with him.

    Did the Buddha visit Sri Lanka?
    Point of view
    By Ranjan Gooneratne

    Mahanama, the author of the Mahavamsa refers to three visits by the Buddha to Sri Lanka. Is this historically correct? Did the Buddha ever visit Sri Lanka? To ascertain whether the description in the Mahavamsa has any basis, one has to study the life of the Buddha, as revealed in the Pali Canon.
    Immediately after Enlightenment, the Buddha walked from Buddha Gaya to Saranath. From Saranath, He set out to wander by stages to Uruvela. At that time three ascetics with matted hair — Kassapa of Uruvela, Kassapa of the River and Kassapa of Gaya — were living at Uruvela. When the Buddha was living at Uruvela, Kassapa’s sacrificial ceremony fell due.

    The Mahavamsa says, “Now, since a great sacrifice by Kassapa of Uruvela was near at hand, and since He (the Buddha) saw that this latter would fain have Him away .., the Conqueror in the ninth month of his Buddhahood, at the full moon of Phussa, Himself set forth for the Isle of Lanka…
    A painting at Kelaniya temple that depicts one of the instances that Lord Buddha is supposed to have visited Lanka to settle a dispuite between two factions

    “To this great gathering of the Yakkas went the Blessed One and there in the midst of that assembly, hovering in the air over their heads, at the place of the future Mahiyangana Thupa, He struck terror to their hearts, by rain, storm, darkness and so forth. The Yakkas, overwhelmed by fear, besought the fearless Vanquisher to release them from fear. Then, when He had destroyed their terror,… the Master preached them the doctrine.” (Geiger’s translation pages 3 and 4)

    The suttas display the Buddha, as the incarnation of patience and peace, capable of working the miracle of transformation by His unshakeable equanimity and impeccable wisdom.

    The Buddha would never have struck terror to their hearts. This idea that the Buddha struck terror to their hearts by rain, storm and darkness, Mahanama has taken directly from the Vedas. The Vedas tell us that Indra wields the thunderbolt and conquers darkness. He brings us light and life, gives us vigour and freshness. Heaven bows before him and the earth trembles at his approach “Yes, when I send thunder and lightning” says Indra “then you believe, in me.” (Radhakrishna Indian Philosophy Vol. 1 pages 35-36)

    According to the Mahavamsa’s description of the first visit of the Buddha to Lanka, the visit should take place between the sacrificial ceremony and the deliverance of the fire sermon at Gayassi.

    The Mahavamsa says the Buddha came by air to Lanka. The description of the first visit of the Buddha goes against the fundamental teachings of the Buddha. In Mahasihanada Sutta (Majjhima Nikaya 12) Sunakkata made this statement before the vesali assembly: “The recluse Gotama does not have any superhuman states, any distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones. The recluse Gotama teaches a Dhamma hammered out by reasoning, following his own line of reasoning as it occurs to him, and when he teaches the Dhamma to anyone, it leads when he practices it to the complete destruction of suffering”.

    Bhikku Bodhi in his commentary to this sutta says “Apparently he (Sunakkhatta) believes that being led to the complete destruction of suffering is, as a goal, inferior to the acquisition of miraculous powers”. In His rebuttal of Sunkattha’s assertion the Buddha says “the recluse Gotama teaches a Dhamma hammered out by reasoning, following His own line of reasoning as it occurs to Him-Unless He abandons that view, then he will wind up in hell”.

    In the Kevaddha Sutta (Digha Nikaya Sutta 11 in Maurice Walshe’s translation), The Buddha says, He dislikes, rejects and despises the miracles of psychic power and miracle of telepathy. The Buddha was possessed of a quality of compassion, seldom seen among men. His sympathy was all embracing and spontaneous. The Buddha’s teaching is based and built on a conception of universal love and compassion for all living beings.

    In the Vatthupama Sutta (Majjhima Nikaya 7) the Buddha says, “he abides pervading that all-encompassing world with a mind imbued with loving kindness, abundant, exalted immeasurable, without hostility, without ill will. He abides pervading one quarter with the mind imbued with compassion.”

    “In the Lakkahan Sutta (Digha Nikaya sutta 30) it is stated, “the Tathagata rejects harsh speech, abstains from it, spoke what was blameless, pleasing to the ear, agreeable, reaching the heart, urbane, pleasing and attractive to the multitude.”

    Therefore, if the Mahavamsa is to be believed, when Mahanama says, “He struck terror to their hearts by rain, darkness and so forth. The Yakkas overwhelmed by fear… we have to accept that the Buddha abandoned the fundamental tenets of the Dhamma merely for the sake of converting a set of ‘uninstructed wordings.’ He was, of all the historical personages of whom we possess any knowledge, one of the most consistent in thought, word and act.

    He not only placed little value on the supra-rational knowledge and ecstasy to which ascetics and mystics were supposed to have access, but actually described their mental acrobatics as “the thicket of theorizing, the wilderness of theorizing, the tangle, the bondage.”

    The Mahavamsa goes on to say that it was on His first visit that the “Master preached the doctrine”.
    There is no record of the doctrine the Buddha preached to the Yakkas. However, there is a record of the two earlier sermons the Buddha delivered at Saranath.

    According to the Mahavamsa, the Buddha’s second visit to Lanka was in the fifth year of His Buddhahood “He set out to Lanka from Jetawana.” If the Mahavamsa account of the Buddha’s second visit is to be believed He should have come to Lanka before He left for Kapilavasthu.

    In His second visit, the Mahavamsa says the Buddha brought about a reconciliation between the Naga kind Maniakkhika and Mahodora by preaching the “the doctrine that begets concord.” King Pasanedi was one of the most devoted lay followers of the Buddha. Pasanedi says “The dhamma has been made clear in many ways by the Blessed One, as though He were turning upright what had been turned upside down. (vide Kosalaamyutta in the Samyuta Nikaya.)

    Yet the Buddha was not able to prevent King Pasanedi going into battle with Ajasathu. In the Paranibbana Sutta we find Ajasattu sending his chief minister Brahamin Vessakara to the Buddha to seek advice as to how he could attack the Vajians and bring them to ruin and destruction. The Buddha told him, “the Vajians will never be conquered by force of arms.” Still the Buddha was not able to dissuade Ajasatu resorting to various stratagems to destroy the Vajians.

    It is strange therefore, that while the Buddha was not able to prevent His disciples from waging wars, He could bring about reconciliation between two kings in a foreign country.

    The doctrine that “begot concord” is not found anywhere in the Pali Canon. It is also strange that this doctrine was not delivered to Kings Pasanedi or Ajasatu and thereby dissuade them from going to war.
    According to the Mahavamsa, the third visit of the Buddha to Lanka was in the eighth year of His Buddhahood.

    The Buddha “set forth surrounded by five hundred arahats on the second day of the beautiful month of Vesak..” Again the doctrine He preached on His third visit to the island is not found in the Pali Canon. The Buddha’s famous statement in the Paranibbana Sutta, “I have taught the Dhamma, Ananda, making no inner and outer. The Tathagata has no teacher’s fist in respect of the Dhamma,” makes it clear that there is no esoteric teaching in Buddhism.

    On a plain reading of the Buddha visits to Lanka as recorded in the Mahavamsa, it becomes clear that this account is not only false but goes against the teachings of the Buddha.

    It is also established that from the day of His enlightenment till He passed away at Kusinara, the Buddha walked barefoot from Buddha Gaya to Kusinara. At the little village of Beluva the Buddha said (Paranibbana Sutta), “Ananda, I am now old, worn out, one who has traversed life’s path, I have reached the term of life which is eighty.” The version in the Mahavamsa that the Buddha came by air from Jetawana to Lanka should be rejected.

    One other matter that should be considered in delving into the veracity of the Buddha’s visit as narrated in the Mahavamsa is that there was an intellectual awakening in India about a thousand years before the Buddha. Therefore, we find in India at the time of the Buddha’s birth the tendency of man to think rationally, to reduce the chaotic universe of his sense-impressions and intuitions to a coherent and logical order, was ingrained in the Indian mind. The Buddha, as Radhakrishna says, “tore away the Dhamma from His ancestral stem and planted in a purely rational soil.”

    Even in such an intellectually fertile soil as in India in the fifth century B.C, soon after enlightenment the Buddha experienced an inner conflict as to whether He should ever teach the Dhamma because, in the words of Bhikku Bodhi, “He reflected the density of the defilements of beings and the profundity of the Dhamma. In the Brahmasamayutta in the Samyutta Nikkaya we find the following statement, “This Dhamma I have discovered is deep, hard to see, hard to understand, peaceful and sublime, not within the sphere of reasoning, subtle, to be experienced by the wise.”

    There is no evidence that the Nagas and Yakkas, if such tribes ever existed in prehistoric Lanka, had any intellectual background capable of understanding the profound teachings of the Buddha. It is also a matter for surprise that while there is a record of the very first sutta preached to five ascetics, we do not find in the Pali Canon any reference to the three discourses delivered to the Nagas and Yakkas.

    William Geiger regards the Mahavamsa as a conscious and intentional rearrangement of the Dipavamsa as a sort of commentary to this latter.” Geiger refers to R.O. Franks’ Dipawamsa and Mahavamsa where he says, “In the absence of any sources, the Dipavamsa must be considered as standing unsupported on its own tottering feet.” Therefore, according to Franke no historical value can be conceded to the Dipavamsa nor to the Mahavamsa.

    Geiger also refers to V.A. Smith’s “Asoka, the Buddhist Emperor of India” where “the Ceylonese chronology prior to B.C. 160 is absolutely and completely rejected as being not merely of doubtful authority but positively false in its principal propositions.”

    The account given in the Mahavamsa has no historical evidence to support the proposition that the Buddha ever visited this island . Biographer and literary critic Lytton Strachey once said, “ignorance is the first requisite of the historian. Ignorance which simplifies and clarifies, which selects and limits, with a placid perfection unattainable by the highest art. Had Lytton Strachey ever read the Mahavamsa, he would have been delighted to realize that Mahanama had followed his observation to the very letter.

    http://sundaytimes.lk/091213/Plus/plus_12.html

  • Heshan

    The account given in the Mahavamsa has no historical evidence to support the proposition that the Buddha ever visited this island .

    I think I am beginning to understand why modern Sri Lanka (e.g. post-independence Ceylon) is such an overwhelming failure…. when it comes to certain matters of particular importance, there are some rather illustrious individuals from the majority community who will engage in a game of rabid deception. And certain sheep (of the likes of Wijayapala) will blindly heed the call. Mahavamsa is a very good example. Here we see that the game of deception has gone beyond any reasonable proportions. Yet quite a few “sheep” continue to heed the call.

  • Belle

    Wijayapala,

    “Using your own logic that nothing can be resolved now, shouldn’t that mean you should be as quiet now as you were when the LTTE was around?”

    I didn’t expect to see the state itself take advantage of the victory against a minority population. I had come to believe in Sinhalese goodwill with the CFA, but now I see it was just convenient for that time, when the LTTE was around. What I meant was that I was naive enough to expect that the situation would be resolved soon after the war. Governments rise and fall. People are capable of changing their thinking, especially if they see that they stand to gain by it too.

    “Last time I checked, the Tamils living in Colombo or the diaspora had never lived under occupation by a terrorist regime.”

    You mean during the LTTE years, Colombo itself was not under siege, be they Sinhalese or Tamils? That’s news to me. Are you saying that the LTTE terrorist threat to Sri Lanka was over-rated? As for the diaspora, that’s irrelevant. I was talking about people not caring about the plight of fellow-citizens and about racism in Sri Lanka.

    “Sooo… just like the Tamils?”

    The SL Tamils are politically quiescent? You can say that, given the militant groups that emerged? You seem bent on wanting to think that Sri Lankans in general are politically quiescent, even though the facts don’t bear you out. I don’t think political quietism explains the ethnic conflict nor Sri Lankans coming under the rule of tyrants. Perhaps their chauvinistic politics makes them susceptible to being used by tyrants.

    “From what?”

    You’re kidding, right? So the continued presence of the LTTE did not impact adversely on the Sri Lankan economy? There was no money to be made in the East by clearing out the LTTE? All that abandoned real estate? Of course, money had already been made in war. Isn’t Fonseka accused of having made millions through tenders for war equipment? Is he the only one, do you think?

  • BalangodaMan

    Belle (August 28, 2010 @ 2:54 pm) has explained the difference between ‘race’ and ‘ethnic identity’ very well.

    The difference between ethnic identities is mistakenly thought of as because of ‘race’ or ‘origins’ (Mr Yapa’s idea of the Sinhalese evolving from a tadpole from Kandy) when in reality it is because of our perception of the differences between groups of people – language, religion, dress, cultural roots, and consequently (as ‘race’ has been politicised) also political allegiances.

    In other words, Mr Yapa is ‘Sinhalese and Buddhist’ because he has been told, from birth, that he is Sinhalese and Buddhist. If he was told he is something else then he would passionately regard himself to be one of those. Nothing to do with his genes.

    However, the relevance of DNA and genes comes in only because some ‘racist’ people put forward racial origins as the differentiator- as some sort of truth and as some sort of elitist ‘purity’. This is easily disproved as (as we know) most (if not all) ‘Sinhalese’ people are of varying degrees of Tamil ancestry, as well as of other migrants.

  • yapa

    Dear belle;

    “For eg, Yapa, who claims he is only talking about ethnic identities but makes it a point to refer to Tamils repeatedly as “Dravidian”, which is a purely racial category.”

    I think you have misunderstood me here. I have never denied the existence of races. My belief is that social and political institutions should not be formed on racial basis.

    Race is a hidden attribute which is usually not visible. To identify race you need to have deliberate efforts. Race has a minimal social impact, but it contributes to ethnicity which clearly visible and make visible social differences. Therefore in a society, unlike race, ethnicity is an apparently prominent factor in formulating social and political institutions.

    What really I said was though races exist, I have no confidence in it in building up social and political institutions on it. I never say races does not exit. I never say Dravidians do not exist. They really exist. But unlike Hitler I have no idea to revolutionize the society based on race.

    Existence is one. No faith on it, is something else.

    I think I made myself clear about this point.

    “I’ve always been puzzled by Sinhalese bitterness that the SL Tamils apparently did better than Sinhalese under colonial rule.”

    It is because “that doing better” was not fair to Sinhalese. They got those benefits through unfair competition, by taking the side of the colonials, while Sinhalese were sidelined.

    “But why massacre them (pre-LTTE) when the Sinhalese, being in political power as the majority, could always ensure that equal opportunities prevailed through government policies?”

    You are trying to attach the murder tag casually to Sinhalese community. Do you think this can simply be attribute to Sinhalese ethnicity. Do you think acts of some Sinhalese thugs can be attributed to the whole community. You think it is fair?

    If I argue in the same line as you, I could ask “Why then the Tamils massacred Sinhalese even without the political power?”

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    “Mr Yapa’s idea of the Sinhalese evolving from a tadpole from Kandy”

    You have very correctly identified your ancestry. Frogs evolve from tadpoles.
    By the way are you from Kandy?

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear Heshan;

    What I like about you most is that unlike many others you try to substantiate your opinions with evidence. A debate exists just because, there is no consensus about opinion(s). Some people hold credible opinions, but do not/can not substantiate them. Some people hold very unreliable opinions without having evidence. Some other people hold very unreliable opinions, while providing evidence.

    You belong to the first and third category above according to my opinion. You kept on arguing for the existence of creator god, even after the concept was literally disproved. This is impossible by a person other than an intellectual. That is why I called you “an intellectual brat”, to whom I have a special liking. Under the first category, to me you are a intellectual and a scholar.

    In regard to your posts of August 29, 2010 @ 10:09 am and August 29, 2010 @ 10:17 am, I would have to call you by the name given within brackets above. However, as I said in an earlier post addressed to wijayapala your mischiefs are lovable.

    Please give me a little time to express my opinion about your articles as I am a bit busy now. I always liked your thought provoking ideas.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Correction……..

    Some people hold credible opinions and substantiate them with strong evidence.

    should come before

    ” Some people hold credible opinions, but do not/can not substantiate them.”

    and in

    “You belong to the first and third category above according to my opinion.”

    the word “third” should be replaced with “forth”.

    Thanks1

  • diffperspective

    Belle,

    Please do not deviate from the point… If you go back to my first post it was to question your characterization about the refugees being “incarcerated” therefore my question to you was—– ” So according to you the Govt incarcerated these people for just one year.Some even less…..I wonder why??? Your choice of words are a ridiculous description of a tragic event!!!”—- I was not trying to prove 90% was resettled but was showing the ridiculousness of your characterization with the UN quote..

    However, interestingly all your sources too claim more than two thirds as being resettled and the balance in the process of being resettled… And this in just over a year all the while in the US 20,000 families remained without permanent housing 5 years after Katrina!!! So where is the incarceration?? Oh yeah I forgot they were released because the Int’l community withheld Funds!!! Which Funds were these again??? Lol :)

    We can quibble all we want on whether it is 90% or 70%… but one thing all including your sources agree is that more than two thirds have been resettled and the balance being resettled after just over an year!!!>> This is hardly “incarceration”

    What you term as “incarceration” I see as a tragic event which was a result of the “Sun God” and his cohorts using these people as human shields (as also accepted by you) to try to save their rear ends. (As cowards who use terrorism do) As a result the SL Govt had to provide refuge to these people and weed the LTTE’ers off… Were there problems in doing this??? Certainly… were there issues in doing this?? Certainly.. No one is arguing that!!!

    With regards to getting clarity on Buhne’s inconsistencies and the various reports you have quoted… I suggest you get it from him and the UN direct!!! This has nothing to do with what you term as “incarceration”…Actually it proves the opposite!!! :)

  • Belle

    Diffperspective,
    I did not deviate from the point. In an earlier post, I said why I called it an “incarceration”.

    Here’s a definition of the word from a dictionary. It may help you to see why the term I used was most apt.

    incarcerate |inˈkärsəˌrāt| verb [ trans. ] (usu. be incarcerated) imprison : many are incarcerated for property offenses. • [ trans. ] confine (someone) in a particular place : he spent a long evening incarcerated below decks. DERIVATIVES incarceration |-ËŒkärsəˈrā sh É™n| noun incarcerator |-ËŒrātÉ™r| noun ORIGIN mid 16th cent.: from medieval Latin incarcerat- ‘imprisoned,’ from the verb incarcerare, from in- ‘into’ + Latin carcer ‘prison.’

    Were the “refugees”, as you termed them, allowed to leave the camps? To talk with visitors? Were there not armed soldiers at these camps? Were the camps not ringed with barbed wire to prevent ‘escape’? Ever seen any of these features at refugee camps?

    That the civilians were released in a year does not remove the fact that it was an incarceration.

    As for your reference to Katrina, no doubt many of the IDPs will still be in temporary shelters, makeshift homes, five years from now. There have been many reports of IDPs just dumped at roadsides and of others trying to make legal claim to their homes. You can call that “resettlement”. I don’t.

    “What you term as “incarceration” I see as a tragic event which was a result of the “Sun God” and his cohorts using these people as human shields (as also accepted by you) to try to save their rear ends. (As cowards who use terrorism do) As a result the SL Govt had to provide refuge to these people and weed the LTTE’ers off…”

    Yeah, right, they weeded the LTTE cadres out by taking bribes from them and setting them free! While innocent civilians had to be…wait…let’s hear that word again: INCARCERATED. Some LTTE cadres even paid a few extra thousands for armed escort from the camps. Stylish, eh?

    There are no incosistencies with regard to what Buhne said. The problem was that the Daily Mirror Lanka reported him as having made that 90% claim when actually it was GOSL making that claim.

  • Heshan

    Dear Yapa:

    Some people believe Buddha flew in the air to SL. Others believe a lion and a woman produced a whole race of people. Others believe His Excellency Lord King Honorable Most High Venerable Mahinda Rajapakse is the incarnation of Dutugemunu. Even though Dutugemunu died 2000 years ago, somehow he is “alive” today and happily robbing the country. Compared to all this nonsense, belief in God is rather sane. As I explained to you a long time ago, God is energy, and the universe , at some level is energy. I cannot, of course, directly prove that God is energy. Nevertheless, the indirect proof serves its purpose well. To summarize, while my beliefs may not be “complete” in the sense of an error-free proof, they are far more rational than the fairy tales I have listed earlier. Thanks!

  • wijayapala

    Prof Heshan

    Did the Buddha visit Sri Lanka?

    If you had bothered to read by rebuttal to Dr. Fernando, you would have seen that I do not accept that the Buddha had visited Sri Lanka, nor do I readily accept any part of the chronicle that predate the arrival of Buddhism because the earliest Sinhala-Prakrit inscriptions are associated with Mahinda and the arrival of Buddhism.

    In plain English, you have 2300 years of Buddhist history in SL from Mahinda onward which you have failed to refute. I hope that I have educated you!

  • wijayapala

    Dear Belle,

    I had come to believe in Sinhalese goodwill with the CFA

    But there was goodwill, which the LTTE exploited. Don’t blame us for the failure of the CFA.

    What I meant was that I was naive enough to expect that the situation would be resolved soon after the war.

    What would you otherwise expect within a year after a brutal 26-year civil war??

    “Last time I checked, the Tamils living in Colombo or the diaspora had never lived under occupation by a terrorist regime.”
    You mean during the LTTE years, Colombo itself was not under siege, be they Sinhalese or Tamils?

    To answer your ORIGINAL question, Colombo was not occupied by a terrorist regime. The LTTE could not have suppressed a mass demonstration against it.

    As for the diaspora, that’s irrelevant. I was talking about people not caring about the plight of fellow-citizens and about racism in Sri Lanka.

    Did I hit a little too close to home, by implying that diaspora Tamils did not care about the suffering of Sri Lankans (even fellow Tamils) caused by the LTTE?

    You seem bent on wanting to think that Sri Lankans in general are politically quiescent, even though the facts don’t bear you out. I don’t think political quietism explains the ethnic conflict nor Sri Lankans coming under the rule of tyrants.

    Actually I’m bent on showing that Sinhalese and Tamils essentially have the same mentality, and you haven’t shown much to refute that point. If you want to say that Sinhalese and Tamils are equally suckers for tinpot leadership, I will not dispute it.

    Your argument about “tyrants” is rather counterintuitive- quiescent people are exactly the type to be enslaved (which is the explanation I’ve heard for the military junta in Burma).

    As for the “ethnic conflict,” I would explain its violent aspects precisely as the result of “political quietism” of the noncommunal elements, whom I consider to be the majority. The actual war started under a regime that was so incredibly unpopular that it cancelled elections to keep itself in power for another 6 years.

    So the continued presence of the LTTE did not impact adversely on the Sri Lankan economy?

    Could you please show me economic figures showing how the economy improved following the destruction of the LTTE? Mahinda being brusque with the Europeans doesn’t appear to have helped things.

    There was no money to be made in the East by clearing out the LTTE?

    Who has made money?

  • Heshan

    Mr. Wijayapala:

    I’m highly disappointed that you don’t believe Buddha flew through the air, and lions enjoyed the pleasure of vivacious young Yakka beauties. Unfortunately, you are alone in your views… your comrade Yapa, for example, believes all these events (and many more) to be 100% correct. In another thread, he has spent many hours, days, and weeks, “proving” the theory of reincarnation – that in fact, a tiny bacterium found in the excrement of a rabies infested dog, can be reborn as the Queen of England in its “next life.” Of course we can go backwards as well… surely His Excellency Mervyn Silva had a more illustrious protege back in the day, of whom Mervyn is a rather unfortunate *degenerate* reincarnation.

    On the other hand, by admitting Buddha never visited SL, you are jeopardizing the destiny of the “Sons of the Soil” – to preserve “Therevada Buddhism” – as stipulated by Buddha when he took a long peaceful nap. You are also contradicting your bona fide assertion that Buddhism should be given special mention in the Constitution.

    Anyway, realization is the first step in releasing the bonds of racism. Do you also accept that “Prince” Vijaya was not, in fact, a Prince, but a merchant? And that there were Tamil Buddhists on the island before there were Sinhala-Buddhists?

  • Belle

    Wijayapala,

    “What would you otherwise expect within a year after a brutal 26-year civil war??”

    I expected the will to resolve the ethnic conflict. I expected steps to at least begin to be taken in the right direction. GOSL resistance to constitutional reform surprised me.

    “To answer your ORIGINAL question, Colombo was not occupied by a terrorist regime. The LTTE could not have suppressed a mass demonstration against it.”

    So, may I infer from this that the Sinhalese were happy with the LTTE? If the LTTE could not have suppressed a mass demonstration, then surely the lack of Sinhalese-organized mass demonstrations suggest they did not view the LTTE as a threat.

    What the LTTE would have done if there had been mass demonstrations–blow up a bus every time there is one. Or assassinate the organizers.

    “Actually I’m bent on showing that Sinhalese and Tamils essentially have the same mentality, and you haven’t shown much to refute that point. If you want to say that Sinhalese and Tamils are equally suckers for tinpot leadership, I will not dispute it.”

    I don’t know how one can refute such a claim, or how you can prove it. It’s an unverifiable claim to make. How would you refute or prove the claim that Tamils are exactly like Chinese or that Sinhalese are just like Malays?

    “Your argument about “tyrants” is rather counterintuitive- quiescent people are exactly the type to be enslaved (which is the explanation I’ve heard for the military junta in Burma). ”

    Let’s take the example of wives dominated by husbands (or vice versa, if you prefer). The party being dominated may attract the domination by her quiescence, her timid personality. But also, she may attract a dominant husband simply because she subscribes to the ideology that men should be dominant, equating tyranny with strength. Similarly, perhaps in Sri Lanka, there is a popular idea that true leadership is characterized by authoritarianness. Many forummers here go out of their way to justify MR’s tyranny and even the nepotism. Or, as I have suggested, the Sinhalese chauvinism of the masses attracts just the kind of tyrannical politician that will exploit it. Nothing to do with quiescence.

    I don’t think Burmese are quiescent. They come out in demonstrations despite the fear of violence. And let’s not forget–nobody votes for military rule; it’s imposed on them. Sri Lankans have the vote, even if political parties have been known to try to limit it.

    “As for the “ethnic conflict,” I would explain its violent aspects precisely as the result of “political quietism” of the noncommunal elements, whom I consider to be the majority. The actual war started under a regime that was so incredibly unpopular that it cancelled elections to keep itself in power for another 6 years.”

    It was the majority that voted to let the UNP carry on for another six years in a referendum.

    “Could you please show me economic figures showing how the economy improved following the destruction of the LTTE? Mahinda being brusque with the Europeans doesn’t appear to have helped things.”

    “Who has made money?”

    http://www.nowpublic.com/tech-biz/sri-lankan-economy-boom-after-war
    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-03-30/sri-lankan-economy-accelerates-at-fastest-pace-in-five-quarters.html

  • Belle

    Yapa,

    “Race is a hidden attribute which is usually not visible. To identify race you need to have deliberate efforts. Race has a minimal social impact, but it contributes to ethnicity which clearly visible and make visible social differences. Therefore in a society, unlike race, ethnicity is an apparently prominent factor in formulating social and political institutions.”

    Race is distinguished from ethnicity in that race is the more visible one. You cannot tell that a Sinhalese person and a European are both Christian unless you talk to them or have prior knowledge of their religion. But you can tell they are of a different race just by looking at them. They don’t have to wear anything on them to show that they are of a different race.

    How is ethnicity rather than race the more prominent factor in formulating social and political institutions in Sri Lanka? Are there different policies and institutions for Sinhalese Christians as against Sinhalese Buddhists? Aren’t these differences more pronounced based on race (or at least, on perceptions that these groups are racially different)? For instance, only Tamils were incarcerated in the barbed wire camps. Sinhalese were the ones allowed to be free. In terms of language policy, is one regional dialect of Sinhalese privileged over another? No. But Sinhalese is obviously privileged over Tamil, the language, supposedly, of another race.

  • longus

    Belle

    Maybe at a glance one would say that the Sinhalese and the Tamils look all the same physically. But on close inspection of their features most of the time you can tell the difference based on their physical features- except in instances where the mixing of the genetic matter has taken place to a great extent, so that the features become indistinguishable. It’s not difficult to discern the North Indian features of the Sinhalese, and the non-Aryan features of the Tamils ie.the flatter noses.darker complexion, narrower foreheads, the alignment of the eyes in the head, the size of the eyes in proportion to the face and the shape of the face etc.

    In the same way one could say that all the far-eastern races like the Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Thai and Philipinnos look alike but if you look closely you can differtiate between them, though it looks a hard task. Even I, for that matter can tell the difference between a Phillipino, Chinese and a Japanese, being a total outsider

    That’s how sometimes after seeing a person some Sinhalese say, “He is Tamil,right?” and some Tamils say,”He is Sinhalese,right?”,even without hearing them talking!

    Heshan

    Your bigotry knows no limits, and may be excusable considering your intellectual plight-grey matter turning white! You think it is reasonable to believe in a creator because the universe is energy (when you pass wind,that’s also energy!) It’s not an absurdity for you to believe that that “energy” is listening your sorry-tales and grant your wishes; nor to believe that the creater was not created; nor to believe that if the creator created the universe he should be outside the universe (and in that case He can’t poke His devine finger to the wordly matters)-if He is inside He would not have created this expanding blob of space-time! ;nor this ultimate energy had a Jewish son called Jesus whom He sent to the world 2010 years ago to be crucified, for the sake of the “sinners” that his father created!

    That may be what you consider the “incompleteness” of your “unproven theory”. Give the same freedom to the believers of the Lion story and re-incarnation, man!

  • Huh

    Dear Longus,

    Although I, myself, also think that it is often easy to distinguish between Tamils and Sinhalese physically, I don’t think it is appropriate to Tamil facial features as ” non-aryan”. Remember that although Sinhalese people may speak an indo-aryan language, they are not aryans!

  • Belle

    Longus,
    “It’s not difficult to discern the North Indian features of the Sinhalese”

    You have your fantasies, don’t you?!! Sorry, but I never saw a Sinhalese who looked like Hrithik Roshan.

    Go through a photo gallery of Miss Sri Lankas or actresses through the years. They look different from the Miss Indias and Indian actresses in that they have broader, flatter noses and much wider mouths–same features that distinguish SL Tamils from Indian Tamils. Less refined features, but more interesting, I think. MIA could easily pass as Sinhalese.

    “That’s how sometimes after seeing a person some Sinhalese say, “He is Tamil,right?” and some Tamils say,”He is Sinhalese,right?”,even without hearing them talking!”

    But they seem to have some doubt, wanting the other person to confirm it. How come? And what edification do they gain from guessing right?

  • Heshan

    Longus,

    Most of the world has always believed in God, still believes in God, and will continue to believe in God, despite the pathetic and futile attempts of atheists such as yourself to discredit such beliefs. On the other hand, the myths and deceptions of Mahavamsa have been laid bare and are apparent for anyone to see. Unfortunately, racist ignoramuses such as yourself continue to propagate such fabrications as genuine history; nevertheless, that does not make such fabrications any more believable than they already are.

  • BalangodaMan

    ‘Aryan’ – by what meaning?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aryan

    This Wikipedia entry covers the vast range of meanings of the term. Mostly it’s use is about language, not ancestry. In common usage ‘Aryan’ refers to the Nordic appearance (blonde, blue eyed) of which I am yet to meet an indigenous Sri Lankan of any variety!

    However, in the context of this thread the term ‘Aryan’ is used in the same way as Hitler and the Nazis did (a 20th century aberration of the term), as a differentiator to distinguish a ‘master race’ from another (the Jews by the Nazis) – ‘Aryan’ vs ‘Dravidian’. A racial distinction that may have existed thousands of years ago because of the relative isolation of tribes, but does not exist today. All that does exist today is ‘a perception’ of such a distinction handed down from generation to generation, and now earnestly propagated by the SL Neo-Nazis.

    Any difference between different races only arises out of which region in the world these humans migrated to and settled in (love to hear Mr Yapa challenge that!). Eighty thousand years ago we were all the same, our ancestors (of all modern humans) were a relatively small group, and black (yes). Some settled closer to the equator, others further north, their physical appearance derives from that. This does not make any particular group any ‘better’ than another, except each adjusted to the particular climate they settled in. So the distinction that the likes of Mr Yapa wishes to base all his racist campaigning on is completely illusory.

  • BalangodaMan

    God
    —-
    Belief in god, or not, it a complete red herring in this discussion. As I noted earlier, whether god exists or not depends on one’s particular definition of ‘god’. If god = ‘everything’ then of course ‘god exists’. If god = the ‘Christian god’ then non-Christians do not believe that he exists. It is naive to assume that ‘god’ always mean Christian god. Interestingly, it is the non-Christians who mostly jump to the automatic assumption that the ‘god’ referred to is the Christian god!

    Prof Heshan is right, all people of all varieties ‘tend to believe in some god or other’ (my words). Even Buddhists, while the doctrine is atheist in essence, believe in higher beings. This is evidenced by the enormous investment they make both financially and emotionally towards deities, including the Buddha who most Buddhists regard as a ‘god’ figure to whom they pray. The result is, they have created a god because they needed one.

    None of the above proves that god exists, or what god is. I am merely pointing out the futility of making distinctions between differing positions in a discussion like this on the basis of whether ‘one believes in god or not’.

    ( we all do, as I wrote earlier. We simply disagree on what his name is, where he lives, and his job description)

  • yapa

    Dear Heshan;

    Sorry for the delay responding to you. Wrt to the God concept and reincarnation you mentioned in your last post addressed to me, I must write a few lines.

    Surely the “God” we discussed in the previous discussions was “Creator God”, mentioned in the Bible and in other religious records in western religions and nothing else. The existence of this creator god, who is omnipotent, is clearly disproved by Averroes’ argument, and I have quoted the argument several times. Therefore there is no space for this “particular god” for existence. However, it does not disprove the existence of Rain God, Wind God, Fire God,Tree God, and Rock God or as you claimed “Energy God”. So you have found a very safe god to worship just as very olden day people and tribal people all over the world like our Veddha clan did/do. Surely you are free to worship your “Energy God” without any hindrance from us. But I must stress again “Creator God” has no escape from “intellectuals” in today’s world.

    Wrt to rebirth concept of Buddhism too I must touch upon a bit.

    The destiny of a being after the death (and before birth) is still an unsolved problem, as there is no one solution for this accepted by all. But the question is a valid one. Therefore there is a vacuum for a theory of the sort of reincarnation in this case (unlike in the case of Creator god).

    Further, it can be seen that this question has been a common point of attraction throughout the world for known time of history and there has been mainly two types of answers suggested for the question.

    1. There is no life after death
    2. There is/are life/lives after death

    Under 2. I think all the God based religions believe that there is one more birth after this, heaven or hell (i). Hinduism believes in “Reincarnation”, with an unchanging soul (ii). However, Buddhists believe in “Rebirth”, rejecting the unchanging soul concept and the explanation is based on “Panch Niyama Dharma” (Five Laws of Dhamma) and “Paticca Samuppada” (Dependent Origination)” (iii).

    Anybody can objectively explore/analyze and see, among these three theories, without any doubt Buddhist theory is far ahead of the other two. Though it is not yet empirically proved totally, none can reject the rational flow and the consistency found in the theory. It has none or has only a few contradicting questions that can be asked in the line of rationality.

    (I will respond soon to the other two posts too)

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Correction………

    “Under 2. I think all the God based religions believe………”

    should be corrected as “Under 2. I think all the God based religions of the west believe…………….

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    “Any difference between different races only arises out of which region in the world these humans migrated to and settled in (love to hear Mr Yapa challenge that!). Eighty thousand years ago we were all the same, our ancestors (of all modern humans) were a relatively small group, and black (yes). Some settled closer to the equator, others further north, their physical appearance derives from that. This does not make any particular group any ‘better’ than another, except each adjusted to the particular climate they settled in. So the distinction that the likes of Mr Yapa wishes to base all his racist campaigning on is completely illusory.”

    Your theory above further substantiate your ancestry to “Tadpoles”!

    As you said,

    Some million years ago we were all the same, our ancestors (of all modern BalangodaMen) were a relatively small group, and some species lived in water (yes).

    All the animal species on ground including frogs evolved from that species lived in water and therefore have a common ancestry. So this proves the apparent relationship between these outwardly different two species (T & B).

    Thanks!

  • longus

    Huh

    Are you suggesting that an Indo-Aryan language,Sinhalese was forcibly thrust on the non-Aryan inhabitants of Sri Lanka by some government edict? What is your source?, huh…

  • longus

    Belle

    When they guess it’s generally correct! There is a doubt in the mind of the guesser because the difference is subtle-sometimes,it depends on the degree of mixing. I never say the Sinhalese are pure Aryan or the Tamils are pure Semitic. I don’t want Hitler to turn! (in his grave?), but it’s commen sense, as Huh claims. (I’m sorry, if you don’t have it!) The reason is still there is no free inter-marriaging between the Sinhalese and the Tamils-thanks to the services of extremists on both sides, and cultural barriers! I hope this will not be so in the future and that is what the topic of this article (now, forgetten!) discusses.

    Don’t think the term “non Aryan” is demeaning to that particular race. Aryans have nothing to be proud of themselves;it’s only one of those races who migrated and settled in ancient Asia and Europe. Only lunatics like Hitler thought that Aryans were special-in spite of himself being half-Jewish! In fact the ancient Aryans who migrated from Asia Minor and Anatolia to Europe and Asia in two lines were a barbaric race. They are thought to be responsible for the destruction of the two great Indian civilizations.(definitely, those great civilizations were of non Aryan in origin!) They were ruthless and barbaric plunderers and meat-eaters-until Hinduism turned them into vegetarians!

    The bottom line is being of Aryan origin doesn’t mean that the Sinhalese are superior. It’s just one of those ancient migrating human tribes.

    I don’t think it’s a good idea to compare the beauty queens of India and Sri Lanka, unfortunately because both connot be taken as representative samples! Think about 70′s Miss Sri Lanka Shiranthi! Yet I haven’t seen a Tamilnadu woman being crowned as Miss India- once again the prejudice of the Aryan North Indians that Southerners are “less beautiful”!(may be you can disprove this myth!) This prejudice runs in the Vedas as well in branding the non Aryan South Indian races as “Asuras”

  • longus

    BalangodaMan

    What you site -the global migration theory – is generally accepted as true, apart from some recent challenges that “modern man” lived in other parts of the world, well before 80,000 years, with the discovery of “modern human” artefacts in some other parts of the world.

    I agree what you say about believing in a “God”. It seems to me a primary and primitive human need. God doesn’t mean only the Christian God;it means the Hindu God Siva, the Jewish God Jehova, Islam’s “one and only” Allah, Sikhism’s One God and many other Gods of lesser known religions.

    Buddhism too sometimes mentions of a “god” called Shakra or Maha Brahma in it’s literature, but whether this “god” is similar to the “omnipotent” creator God of theistic religions in NOT CLEAR.

    Anyway, Buddhism does mentions of “superior beings living in a different realms”-”gods” or deities- but their role in the origin and maintenence of the universe is quite different from the creator God of Islam or Christianity!

    Among the atheistic religions Buddhism doesn’t stand alone; Taoism, Jainism-in spite of talking about a “union with the universe”- are atheistic in essence. But the Lack of a “God” is thoroughly felt by the desciples of those religions which is quite evident by the creation and worship of gods of other religions, worship of “minor gods”. The worship of Hindu gods and provincial gods by the villager of average intelligence in Sri Lanka can be sited as an example – Martin Wckramasinghe’s description of a “Hirigal Devalaya” comes to my mind. Because a philosophy doesn’t offer much help to the layman with an average intelligence, who needs some “urgent divine intervention” to (cure his sick daughter).

    All these “ancient” religions were preached by men of wisdom at that time and that is what they grasped as truth more than 2000 years ago-in the case of Islam,slightly less! In my opinion they DO NOT represent the ultimate truth-if there is an ultimate truth!- in spite of their (the Founder’s) “MOMENTS OF BRILLIANCE”

  • longus

    Heshan

    Apart from what I have wriitn in response to BalangodaMan regarding God, I have one more point regarding the Mahawansa (by the way I don’t know why many people use “m” instead of “n” in writing words like “Mahawansa” and “sansara” in English!) The “racists” and “lunatics” like myself believe that Mahawansa is true despite the lack of historical proof, according to you. People like myself must be fools as well, right? But funnily you don’t apply the same argument to the multitudes of people of the world who believe in God. For example in a recent survey by the CNN it was revealed that about 60% of the people in the USA believe that the Bible is true, WORD TO WORD. Enlightened America, eh?

    Curiousely you don’t seem to be knowing that in no contemporary historical record -by Josephus and others- is the existence of a person called Jesus is mentioned; even in the dead sea scrolls- which is a genuine historical source- a person called Jesus is not mentioned- only an assumption as to the existence of John the Baptist or the “good priest”.

    Why don’t you call the vast majority of people in the world “fanatics” “lunatics” or “idiots” as they believe in a person whose existence cannot be historically proven?

  • Huh

    Dear Longus,

    the word ” aryan” does not apply to the sinhalese people–can you explain how it does? I was saying that the LANGUAGE we speak is indo-aryan but that does NOT make the people ” aryans”–why are you still using this term, anyways? I thought grouping people together as aryans went out of style after the whole World War 2 thing? We may speak an indo-aryan language, but we in terms of culture, we are pretty much south-indians, anyways.

  • Burning_Issue

    Dear longus,

    Please consider the following link; I would like to hear your views:

    http://www.sangam.org/BOOKS/sachi10_05_02.htm

  • Burning_Issue
  • longus

    Yapa

    When you talk about a “Creator God’,not only the “Western religions” have a God. Even the Christianity is not Western for that matter. It originated in the Middle East just like Islam. Judaism is Middle-Eastern too.(So, none of the current religions are Western in origin, eventhough the Christianity has a Western outlook, because it was propagated by the colonial invaders) Even the Hinduism talks about a Creator God.

    Your account on the rebirth or “trans-migration” described in Buddhism is not easy to grasp as it does not involve a “un-destrcutable soul”.(as in Hinduism) But even that explaination in Buddhism raises many a question in a rational mind,which are still beyond the scope of Science- or simply un-scientific,as for now..

  • BalangodaMan

    Mr Yapa, we had two very long threads pointing out the problem with religion when we try to put them forward as ‘the truth’. In those two long threads we have spelt out the many inconsistencies.

    Just as you say that your religion is completely consistent I have many Muslim friends who swear by the consistency and the beauty that’s within the Qu’ran, and many Christian friends who have a similar affinity towards the Bible. We have been through all of that. You never produced the proof that would convince a non-believer (Sujewa, SomewhatDisgusted and me, for example) of the ‘truth’ of any religion and therefore we remain convinced that a religion, any religion, is only ‘true’ to the faithful, no one else.

    That makes challenging the validity of any other religion to be quite pointless. I think if we devote as much energy to challenging one’s own religion we may yet sufficiently ‘refine’ religion to be of some use in modern society, going forward.

    (However, the article is about Peace and Reconciliation, and you have expertly shown how religion is easily used to achieve the opposite and create division in society)

  • wijayapala

    Burning_Issue, I think you may have missed my prior message.

    Couldn’t you have found anyone other than the schizophrenic LTTE bootlicker Sachi Srikanth to defend your views?

    As for Mudaliyar Rasanayagam, he wrote his book in 1926 and there has been plenty of research on the history of Jaffna since then to give a better picture of the past.

  • longus

    Burning_issue

    It’s an interesting theory, but the best way to anlyse it,I think is to study the Sigiri Graffiti. These are written by the admirers who visited Sigiriya and they show the true picture as to what kind of language was used in ancient Sri Lanka-during the Anuradhapura kingdom.(like the present day youngster who visits Anuradhapura and writes something like:”Heshan Thattaya-Ampara,077-1234567!”) Furthermore these poems were written by the average village folk and not by the Pali,Sanskrit educated elites of the time.

    If you can find a clue in Sigiri graffiti which points in the direction to say that present day Sinhalese was imposed on them by the Pali,Sanskrit educated ruling class it will be great!

  • wijayapala

    Dear Belle,

    I expected the will to resolve the ethnic conflict. I expected steps to at least begin to be taken in the right direction. GOSL resistance to constitutional reform surprised me.

    What is the solution to the “ethnic conflict?” More specifically, what changes have to be made to the constitution? What will be the effects of these fixes that will lead to a *noticeable* change in Sri Lanka?

    If the LTTE could not have suppressed a mass demonstration, then surely the lack of Sinhalese-organized mass demonstrations suggest they did not view the LTTE as a threat.

    So let me understand your train of logic: to support your argument that the Sinhalese are not politically quiescient, you are arguing that the Sinhalese did not protest against the LTTE?

    What the LTTE would have done if there had been mass demonstrations–blow up a bus every time there is one. Or assassinate the organizers.

    Why didn’t they do that for the EPDP’s celebration of Pooneryn?

    http://www.tamilnet.tv/news/2008/123266/jaffna-tamils-celebrate-pooneryn-victory/ (sorry for citing Tamilnet)

    How would you refute or prove the claim that Tamils are exactly like Chinese or that Sinhalese are just like Malays?

    I guess I can’t, but despite that there seems to be people here who insist that Sinhalese and Tamils are utterly alien to each other.

    Do you think things in SL would’ve turned out very differently if the Tamils were the majority and the Sinhalese the minority? The only major difference would have been that there would have been no “Sinhala Nadu” anywhere else to leverage support, and we would have been crushed much sooner. Anything else?

    Let’s take the example of wives dominated by husbands (or vice versa, if you prefer). The party being dominated may attract the domination by her quiescence, her timid personality. But also, she may attract a dominant husband simply because she subscribes to the ideology that men should be dominant, equating tyranny with strength.

    Huh???

    I don’t think Burmese are quiescent. They come out in demonstrations despite the fear of violence.

    Ok. Then how come the SL Tamils did not come out for demonstrations against the LTTE?

    It was the majority that voted to let the UNP carry on for another six years in a referendum.

    The most fraudulent election in SL history, as commonly believed.

    http://www.tops.lk/article2991-election-violence-began-with-1982-referendum-ec.html
    http://www.tamilcanadian.com/page.php?cat=94&id=573

  • yapa

    To add a little bit salt to my last post, in my view Pancha Niyama Dharma (Five Laws of Dharma) and Paticca Samuppada (Dependent Origination) taken together represents something close to “Theory of Everything”, which Modern Scientist are trying to establish to explain the universe. I think the Scientific Community should explore this profound Buddhist theory in their hectic endeavour to find the Final Theory, if it is a possibility. It is true that Paticca Samuppada has many interpretations that are not totally tallying. However, this complexity of multiple versions themselves could be a blessing as the right one may be unearthed from that complex repository of knowledge.

    I think the people of the world should keep aside religious biases in the case of finding truth. Truth should not be avoided, merely because it contains in religious literature. Religious outer cover should not be a preconceived hindrance in this case. What we need is to find the truth, not the place it is hidden or its ownership. I think an objective investigation by the proper authority would at least shed some light into the path of finding the ultimate truth or the final Theory of Everything, if such a theory is a possibility.

    Thanks!
    .

  • yapa

    To give an example why we should not reject things just because of their places origination or sort of such minor biases, I recently had the opportunity of associating a friend of mine who didn’t have a close relationship for a very long time with me. After associating me for a couple of days, he astonished me by showing me my exact horoscope drawn on a small piece of paper. Not only that he gave a very close range of time for my time of birth.

    I had been a non believer of Astrology until this happened a few weeks ago. I am 100% sure there is no way he can access to my horoscope or the time of birth, but he did it to the point. According to him he had identified two very strong attributes of mine through his casual talks with me and deduced my horoscope from those attributes.

    This shows an indisputable relationship (converse) between the horoscope and attributes/behaviour of a person. However, he says that the exact prediction of future of a person through horoscope is not possible but only some possibilities/probabilities of the future can be envisaged.

    If the theory of horoscope is based on karma/ kamma as he said, really there must be some uncertainty in predicting the future of a person, as the laws of operation of Kamma is not predictable (as per the Buddhist doctrine).

    These are some examples and eye openers/motivators for us to come back to our roots and explore our heritage to find truths/values hidden in our neglected repositories, not just dazzling from quick glare of the recently found knowledge.

    However, westerners had realized the same fact before us and have already started exploring the subjects they named as as “Traditional Knowledge” “Indus Studies” etc.. etc.. to explore the eastern repositories while we are startled in the western pool of knowledge alone, rejecting our own heritage blindly.

    Coming back to the starting point, my friend calls his process of predicting horoscope through personal attributes as ” Re engineering”.

    Hope I was able to provoke your idling curiosity a bit.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Correction…………,

    ‘If the theory of horoscope is based on karma/ kamma as he said, really there must be some uncertainty in predicting the future of a person, as the laws of operation of Kamma is not predictable (as per the Buddhist doctrine).’

    should be read as

    If the theory of horoscope is based on karma/ kamma as he said, really there must be some uncertainty in predicting the future of a person, as the laws of operation of Kamma is not predictable and also the attributes/ behaviour of a person is solely not based on karma but also on the other four Laws of Dhamma (pancha Niyama Dharma), ie., Dhamma Niyama, Uthu Niyama, Beeja Niyama and Chitta Niyama, (as per the Buddhist doctrine).

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear longus;

    “When you talk about a “Creator God’,not only the “Western religions” have a God. Even the Christianity is not Western for that matter. It originated in the Middle East just like Islam. Judaism is Middle-Eastern too.(So, none of the current religions are Western in origin, eventhough the Christianity has a Western outlook, because it was propagated by the colonial invaders) Even the Hinduism talks about a Creator God.”

    Thanks for the clarification and kind words. When I mentioned “western Religions”, what I really meant were the religions mentioned above by you.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    ‘Just as you say that your religion is completely consistent I have many Muslim friends who swear by the consistency and the beauty that’s within the Qu’ran, and many Christian friends who have a similar affinity towards the Bible. We have been through all of that. You never produced the proof that would convince a non-believer (Sujewa, SomewhatDisgusted and me, for example) of the ‘truth’ of any religion and therefore we remain convinced that a religion, any religion, is only ‘true’ to the faithful, no one else.”

    When I talk about “Truths”, I don’t count on the number of heads of the believers, but on the strength/reliability of the theory/facts in them. If the truths are elected as “Parliament Members” in so called democratic countries, what you are professing may be true.

    As an ardent advocate of Science are you recommending Scientific Investigations to be carried out on vote? Is that in accordance with “your so called Scientific Method”?

    The Monkey’s love for the king did not bring him fortune, but destruction. Same way BalangodaMan’s (a descendant of monkey’s as per Anthropology) love for Science too will not bring any good to it.

    As I have repeatedly said before, “little knowledge is dangerous”.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Correction………

    “Same way BalangodaMan’s (a descendant of monkey’s as per Anthropology) love for Science too will not bring any good to it.”

    should be corrected as

    Same way BalangodaMan’s (a descendant of monkeys as per Anthropology) “unprotected love” for Science too will not bring any good to it.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    “‘Just as you say that your religion is completely consistent I have many Muslim friends who swear by the consistency and the beauty that’s within the Qu’ran, and many Christian friends who have a similar affinity towards the Bible.”

    Did you then level your unrestricted cynical bombardment of verbosity questioning diarrhea at their position on the religions, just as you did against Buddhism, along with your equally capable blind pack hunter accomplices? You rely on the quantity of words, number of people as evaluation methodologies.

    There is a psychological syndrome of boy children when they become adults, to develop a jealousy/unpleasantness towards their father. Also there is a social psychological syndrome developed among the people who rose to a higher plane from lover planes of society. They try to hate and avoid their merciful pasts. This can be well seen among the big shots who have started their lives as miserable village children and come up through education to become authorities. A hesitation to revisit their villages and even to visit their parents developed in them, and a passion for modern attitudes/living comes up as their priority.

    I don’t consider you as an entirely different personality. Most of the time these are common principles for all.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Correction………,

    NOT “from lover planes of society.” But from lower planes of society.

    Thanks!

  • BalangodaMan

    Mr Yapa,

    “I think an objective investigation by the proper authority would at least shed some light into the path of finding the ultimate truth or the final Theory of Everything, if such a theory is a possibility.”

    They are. It is called scienctific research – the very activity that you spent two long discussion threads rejecting in favour of ancient ideas that mainly emerged from the fear of the unknown suffered by ancient people. I have also asked what research is being conducted by the Universities in SL today to prove that the ‘absolute religious truth’ that you promote is supported by known scientific facts of today. (I assume from the silence that the answer is ‘none’?)

    By ‘science’ we simply mean objective exploration of things. You seem to continue to regard ‘objective exploration’ as ‘another religion’ (a religion is based on ‘faith’ – ie. a belief in something disregarding the lack of proof) and display your opposition to ‘objectivity’ in the same way as you oppose alternative religious theories.

    BTW: my writing in the last 2 threads draws upon examples of all major religions to demostrate that the absurdities and failings therein, as well as the benefits, apply to all of them equally. My viewpoint is not against religion per se, or any particular religion, but against the claim that any religion is ‘true’ while others are not. All religions serve the same purposes.

    Mr Yapa, your long paragraph on challenging authority is interesting! We have a duty to ourselves to challenge what we have been told, by anyone, particularly when there are immediately observable discrepancies (We have cited The Kalama Sutra a hundred times in these talks). My father was a learned man, he was thrilled that my generation and later ones will know more about everything than his generation – only saddened that he will not be around to share in that knowledge. Clearly we have had different upbringings as you feel it is your ‘duty and responsibility’ to propagate the myths of ancient people, completely disregarding the objective analysis of those myths by ‘thinking people’ since.

    Objective Analysis
    ————————
    On that you should read the extract by Arjun Gunaratne posted earlier and I repost below (excellent exploration) – I would re-title ‘How do we know we are Sinhalese’?
    http://works.bepress.com/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1021&context=arjun_guneratne

  • yapa

    “My father was a learned man, he was thrilled that my generation and later ones will know more about everything than his generation – only saddened that he will not be around to share in that knowledge.”

    Some good fathers get good for nothing sons. Some bad fathers get good sons. Don’t worry you will get a good son.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    “rejecting in favour of ancient ideas that mainly emerged from the fear of the unknown suffered by ancient people.”

    just expressing your uninformed opinions won’t reject anything. There is an accepted methodology for that, just as Creator God concept was rejected. Can you reject Pancha Niyama Dharma and Paticca Samuppada using a such accepted method?

    I challenge you to do it keeping aside your mere verbal rejections. Verbal rejections are possible by anybody who is having a horizontal slit in the face, below his nose. No more competencies needed for that. That is why you are barking about big rejections.

    Some people rejects things even without knowing their names, I don’t think the position is different in these case too. I can remember you had no idea about Noble Eight Fold Path and misquoted something else. You had no slightest idea of the karma concept. I am sure your knowledge of Pancha Niyama Dharma and Paticca Samuppada cannot be better. Still you engage in whole sale rejection of Buddhism. You have no knowledge/cannot reject any doctrine of Buddhism, even if a student of grade five does it.

    When you have no knowledge only rejection you can do is mere oral rejection. You are impotent otherwise.

    Thanks!

  • longus

    Yapa

    Science and religion are worlds apart to say the least. Science doesn’t accept anything that lacks objectivity and reproducibility, whereas religion is a personalized experience. That experience in Buddhism is eradication of all suffering by attaining a state called Nirvana which is not describable by positive terms of the language. In Christianity it is “communication with God”. In Islam it’s ” total subjugation to God”. In all religions people find a way to explain their out look of the world in religious terms. But science uses a narrower and limited scope to find out the truth about the universe;the perceivable realities. Therefore as a result we find numorous phenomena which are not explained by science, and those we put into the dustbin of memory and move forward, hoping they would be explained one day!

    As for the “Pancha Niyama Dhamma” or the “five laws of the nature” it is a way that Buddhism explains the laws of the universe; just like science says there are four Forces in the universe- which they are trying to unite! The difference is the Buddhist theory does not try to dig into the origins of things. For example Dhamma Niyaama says that there are certain laws in nature like gravitational pull, power of lightening and wind power but doesn’t try to go further and analyse how these forces operate or how they came into being. But on the other hand Science wants to find out how gravity operates, how it is related to other forces and what it is made up of. Science has a habbit of finding the origins of things, which according to Buddha is a “futile act”. Furthermore we can take “Chitta Niyaama” or “laws of the mind” and say it gives a set of rules on how the thoughts originate and disappear in a fraction of a second. Psychology too is considered as a scientific study but how do the scientists deal with “unseen thoughts and emotions”? Once again the scientists go to the roots of things and try to see what brain chemicals are associated with what psychological conditions and what parts of the brain are involved etc. Buddha’s reported attainment of Nirvana or eradication of “greed and ignorance”,which are the root causes of existence,according to Buddha, can never be tested by science! But while saying it I must say that even now,as you have mentioned in your post, scientists are in the process of measuring the changes that accur in the brain during deep meditation. Maybe as you say the scientists are still crawling on the floor trying to stand up! We can only hope that one day they will find the meaning of “un-formed,un-completed,un-made state called Nirvana that doesn’t come under “aggregates” or “existence”!

    As Buddha has “chosen” to remain silent when questioned about the origins of things Buddhism doesn’t come into conflict with science as most other religions do! “The study of the world (loka vishaya) is beyond the scope of the mind-and endless (achintya)”, according to Buddha. This is the very issue that theistic religions in the world took up arms against and fought “heratic” scientists!
    Some were burned at the stake (Bruno) and some narrowly escaped(Gallilio). By inflicting fear in the minds of the followers, that God or Allah can see everything and hear everything Islam has managed to convert more people than any other religion. Not only that their “Holy War ” wouldn’t end until the whole world becomes obidient to Allah, but it is seen as a duty of every Muslim to convert/or destroy infidels!

    Buddhism too instils fear in the minds of its followers when it comes to “Kamma Niyaama”! Karma, according to Buddha is a self governed set of laws, with an element of unpredictability, that acts on people based on their “good” or “evil” actions. Everything that happens is not a result of Karma -as it is only one of the five laws!- contrary to the popular belief of the Buddhists. How Karma acts, nobody knows, as Buddha has told ” The subject of Kamma is beyond the capacity of an ordinary mind”,just as in the case of the universe! The theistic religions solve this problem by introducing their “omnipotent” God who makes the decisions for the humans -his creation!

    What “Heshan” asks about rebirth is interesting in this regard. Can a bacterium be born as Mahinda Rajapakse -I have ommited the titles given to him by Heshan!-or vise-versa? I don’t think even the learned monks would be able to answer this question. One thing is in Buddha’s time bacteria were not discovered! But apperantly Buddha knew that there are “bugs who feed on amaller bugs and those bugs feeding on even smaller bugs and so on….” And also Buddha has told that out of the five “masses’ or “skandhas” that make up a human body, some simple animals have only one or two “skandhas” out of the five and therefore not capable of being born as a human. In that case a bacterium would never be able (unfortunately though!) to be born as Mahinda Rajapakse! But once again the margin or the deciding point in the animal kingdom is not stated by Buddha!

    The bottomline of this boring account is that science and religion go in entirly different pathways. One is objective;the other is subjetive. But maybe they are destined to meet at some point in the future!

  • Burning_Issue

    longus,

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11161493

    Wijayapala,

    I will reply soon.

  • yapa

    Dear longus;

    As a whole I agree with your article regarding Religion and Science. However, there are some points I feel I can do some additions. It is true in a sense that Religion and Science are poles apart. But it doesn’t rule out the commonalities and relationship in them. It is said that the Technology evolved from Science, Science evolved from Philosophy and Philosophy evolved from Religion, for example. Einstein said Religion without Science is blind and Science without Religion is lame, showing their complementary to each other. Further, both the subjects have the areas of common interests, and also the non transcendental areas of religions can be subjected to scientific investigations. Further, Religions too can contain objective principles; however, my understanding is Science does not always demand reproducibility. That is a must only in Empirical Science, developed after Galileo. Until that time from the Greek era Science was based on pure reasoning (based on deductive logic) and such scientific knowledge does not demand reproducibility. Even modern Scientific theories such as “Quantum Theory, Relativity, Theory of Evolution, Big Bang theory have no care for this reproducibility.

    In view of this, areas of religions that are related to worldly matters or areas based on reasoning can be subjected to scientific investigation. That is how Averroes rejected the omnipotent god concept using a scientific methodology, that is reasoning.

    Same way, Pancha Niyama Dharma and Paticca Samuppada are based on reasoning (really Paticca Samuppada literally means cause and effect and it is the very basis of Science), and hence fully compatible for scientific investigation. If you can produce contradictions in their flow of arguments you can reject these two theories. Even though Chitta Niyama and Kamma Niyama cannot be sensed, on the basis of there application in the theories and on the outcome of them, one can ascertain correctness or incorrectness of them. This is a principle used in scientific investigation, “to ascertain the cause, ascertain the effect”. For example you cannot ascertain/measure the physical quantity “temperature”, but you measure it by measuring an effect of it, for example the expansion of a liquid. This is the principle in simple thermometer.

    In view of above, there is no barrier for some areas of religions for scientific investigation and Pancha Niyama Dharma and Paticca Samuppada qualify for it.

    So, I challenge that BalangodaPerson to disprove or reject those two doctrines in Buddhism using his “pet Science”. He says all major religions to demonstrate that the absurdities and failings therein, as well as the benefits, apply to all of them equally. So I show the absurdity of creator god by disproving it scientifically. Now it is his turn to show the equal absurdity of other religions by disproving the concepts of Buddhism given above using scientific methodologies. Failing would result for me to think him as a “talkative village woman” who gossips at the village well.

    Ignorance makes people brave! The Jathaka Story, swine challenging the lion comes to my mind. He will have to lie down for weeks in a toilet pit soon, to look after his safety.

    One must keep their big mouths shut, if they cannot defend or substantiate what they say and answer the questions raised on them. Some people talk absurdities like talking in their dreams without any responsibility, and avoid answering questions raised. There is no substance in what they say rather than just the letters of the English alphabet burdening the forums they bear.

    Thanks!

  • Burning_Issue

    Wijayapala,

    I am very sorry for the belated response.

    “I disagree. What do you mean by Buddhist “hierarchy?” Is there such a hierarchy for Hinduism or Islam in SL?”

    I cannot speak for Islam in Sri Lanka, but there is no such hierarchy within the Hindu faith at all in Sri Lanka. I still maintain that, there is collaboration between the GOSL and Buddhist establishments in Sri Lanka; without which, Buddhist Monks cannot be allocated for various Buddha statue ceremonies around North and East.

    I said:

    “I do not see articles on any of the front line newspapers about such issues informing the common Sinhala folks. I do not see the Sinhala intellectuals debating about this very fact rendering it as undemocratic and hindering to race relations.”

    You said:

    “This is an easy one to answer. We don’t have any intellectuals!”

    I am dumbfounded completely! Is this why we cannot find solutions for our problems?

    “There is one slight difference- there had been Buddhist sites in the region previously which disappeared as Buddhism disappeared. Kantarodai is one of the last surviving of those sites.”

    There is no proof that the Kanthaiodai was as a result of Sinhala Buddhism, is there? Why is it necessary so soon after ending the war, there is a need to place Buddha statues? Do you defend such occurrences? Do you support that the statues are placed in private lands and what would you do if you are one of those unfortunate owners?

    “I’m not sure that I agree, after hearing him talk about God which is not part of Buddhism.”

    Never mind about MR; a vast majority of the Sinhala Buddhists follow Hindu Deities religiously! One only needs to see the busses, lorries, vans, and autos; they all have a framed picture with 5 Deities: Saraswathy, Ganesh, Murughan, and two forms of Buddha; how do you explain this?

    On my visit to Jaffna; I saw Buddhist Monks in side Hindu temples a few were attending annual festivals; I have photos to prove it; how do you explain this? I can publish the photos here but do not know how to.

    I said:

    “The same Gotabhaya whom you defended as saying that best to occupy as the Defence Secretary!”

    You said:

    “Who is better?”
    How do we know that there isn’t anyone better?

  • wijayapala

    Prof Heshan

    In another thread, he has spent many hours, days, and weeks, “proving” the theory of reincarnation – that in fact, a tiny bacterium found in the excrement of a rabies infested dog, can be reborn as the Queen of England in its “next life.”

    Yes I was part of that thread, and the quality of your own posts reinforces the argument that even excrement of a dog can be reborn as a human.

    You have to admit that the idea of reincarnation makes a lot more sense than some of the silliness out there, like woman being created out of man’s rib or that a certain somebody could die for others’ “sins” because he deluded himself to believe he’s the Son of God. It’s hard to imagine how ignorant were the ancestors of the modern adherents who converted to these superstitions.

    On the other hand, by admitting Buddha never visited SL, you are jeopardizing the destiny of the “Sons of the Soil” – to preserve “Therevada Buddhism” – as stipulated by Buddha when he took a long peaceful nap.

    Mahavamsa did not create this “Sons of Soil” mentality among the Sinhalese- it is rather a SYMPTOM of this mentality. “Sons of Soil” comes from the fact that there isn’t any other place in the world that has Sinhala people in significant numbers.

    You are also contradicting your bona fide assertion that Buddhism should be given special mention in the Constitution.

    I never said that Buddhism should be given special mention. I told Burning_Issue the reasons why Sinhalese want this provision and how these feelings must change if the Constitution is to be changed.

    Do you also accept that “Prince” Vijaya was not, in fact, a Prince, but a merchant?

    Actually I have not come across evidence that Vijaya, prince or merchant, was even a historical person, as I clearly stated in my rebuttal to Lankamithra Fernando.

    And that there were Tamil Buddhists on the island before there were Sinhala-Buddhists?

    It would be nice if you could provide evidence for that. Unfortunately, you can’t!

  • BalangodaMan

    Longus,
    “Can a bacterium be born as Mahinda Rajapakse?”
    He’s already here, so the question is could the President have been a bacterium in a past life? If so, that bacterium must have led a pretty pious life to have become elected a Head of State.

    Such a theory (of rebirth, karma) is only of any relevance to us if we can know (definitively) what the bacterium did to have such an elevated birth subsequently. If that knowledge is beyond us then whether such a mechanism exists or not in the Universe is a complete red herring, no? We cannot influence it (as Mr Yapa tells us there are many factors involved), we cannot even observe it. It is as useful to us as a bicycle with 5-speed gear box is to a fish.

    Critical analysis of religion
    —————————-
    We spent two long threads on this. However, it’s worth reminding ourselves that the Kalama Sutra does not advice us to just challenge ‘other people’s religious books but it’s advice is to challenge what OUR OWN religious books say. If the Buddha meant the opposite (ie. criticise others) then that would have contradicted much of what his teachings are known for.

    Religion and Science
    ——————–
    Way way back in the ancient world ‘religion’ was ‘science’ – it is how things they did not understand (yet) were explained, like thunder and disease and death. As rational-thinking developed less and less things needed religious explanation, or the ‘rational explanation’ constantly and increasingly contradicted the ‘existing religious explanation’. For religion to survive over the centuries the followers need to have greater and greater FAITH – ie, they needed some personal resolve within themselves to ignore rational explanation where it conflicted with what the religious books said. For example, the theory of evolution, flat Earth etc.

    In other words, we today need far greater FAITH to practice religion than people who lived in ancient times. We are also better educated than they were, which also adds to it.

    The problem arises, however, when a religion or its followers claim that the things that require ‘faith’ are actually ‘true’. As we discussed in the earlier thread, the doctrine of karma, rebirth, nirvana can sit quite comfortably well as items that require faith (just as Prof Heshan’s god, and my imaginary friend Bob). The followers simply only need to believe that it is true for it to work. That is, ‘it is true for me’ and it may not be (and need not be) true for anybody else. What developed in the last thread is a scenario where the believers require the non-believers to accept the ‘items that require faith’ … as true! Of course that will not happen, almost by definition. It is akin to expecting the world at large to regard the ‘Sinhalese’ as the master race of the world just because a few wish to believe so. (I am borrowing from an earlier suggestion that we Sinhalese-Buddhists have a privileged birth through the mechanism of karma because of our past good lives, even as bacteria!)

  • Heshan

    longus,

    For example in a recent survey by the CNN it was revealed that about 60% of the people in the USA believe that the Bible is true, WORD TO WORD. Enlightened America, eh?

    I guess you’re not aware of the separation of church and state principle. It is forbidden to teach the Bible in public schools in USA. Even public prayer is forbidden. On the other hand, Mahavamasa is used in Sri Lankan schools to teach a version of history that is 95% wrong. For example, the “Aryan race theory” has long been discredited by scholars. There was no Aryan race that invaded India. Unfortunately, the Arynan theory, which was created by the British, was then taken up by racists like Anagarika Dharmapala, and since that time, has been used to reinforce (and further distort) the deceptions proposed by Mahavamsa. Is it any wonder that S. Lanka was unable to peacefully resolve a simple ethnic conflict? Part of that inability has to do with the intransigent nature of the “Mahavamsa Mindset”, which even today, is a potent force. Basically, the Sri Lankan schools in the South – even the private ones – are producing generations of students who believe (1) Sinhalese are Aryan (2) the entire island belongs to Sinhalese, (3) Sinhalese came to the island first, (4) Tamils are invaders. None of these beliefs can be substantiated and verified using any objective, neutral analysis.

    Curiousely you don’t seem to be knowing that in no contemporary historical record -by Josephus and others- is the existence of a person called Jesus is mentioned; even in the dead sea scrolls- which is a genuine historical source- a person called Jesus is not mentioned- only an assumption as to the existence of John the Baptist or the “good priest”.

    Why don’t you call the vast majority of people in the world “fanatics” “lunatics” or “idiots” as they believe in a person whose existence cannot be historically proven?

    I have already explained in another thread that the value of Christianity does not lie in its abstruseness, or the correctness of its doctrines, but rather, in its simplicity.

    “In our country, ‘Judeo-Christian values’ is shorthand for a complex idea: the common culture of the American majority. The values are called Judeo-Christian because they derive from the complementary ideas of free will, the moral accountability of the individual rather than the group, the spiritual imperative of imperfect man’s struggle to do what is right and the existence of true moral law in the teachings of Christ and the Jewish prophets. Along with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, they are the political and cultural heritage of the Founding Fathers. The declaration and the Constitution define the source and the limits of state power. But they do not tell us how a moral life within this society should be led. While they have provided a durable structure for America’s success, only Judeo-Christian values, freely held by the majority, explain its continuing realization. These values are not identical with the Christian religion, although they manifest its universal insights. Americans, as the Founding Fathers hoped, uphold the Constitution, but live according to “Judeo-Christian values.”[1]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judeo-Christian

    Of course, morals and values exist in other religions as well, but as I stated elsewhere, they are difficult to apply in practice. One reason is because many of the societies where these religions dominate tend to value the group over the individual. In this context, “right and wrong” depends on what the “group” thinks is right or wrong. So if the “group” thinks its okay to build Buddhist temples all over the North, then it must be okay. After all, the temples are
    part and parcel of the identity of the group, and their very presence reinforces that identity. The other problem with religions like Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Islam etc. is that the system of morality which they profess tends to border on extremes. For example, sexuality is repressed, ancestor worship is encouraged, there is an overemphasis on the supernatural (e.g. horoscopes), women never enjoy the same status as men, certain foods become forbidden, worship of the parents is encouraged, etc. It is true that Christianity also suffered from some of these things, a long time ago, but I think that it has largely evolved. I would attribute this evolution, once again, to the simple system of morals which even the weakest mind can comprehend. So in the case of religion, we can gauge the value of its practical application not by the abstruseness of its doctrines, but by its ability to evolve and integrate with fluctuating societal and other dynamics.

  • yapa

    Dear longus;

    It is very interesting to have a discussion on science, scientific methodologies, truth, reality etc.. etc.. with a person who has some understanding about them. I enjoyed such discussions with Heshan and Off the Cuff in previous discussions. However, there are some fake science lovers who claim ownership for it just reading some science magazines and a few science fictions who think their crazy love for it gives all necessary scientific knowledge to them to control everything related to them and gives them the authority to answer any bloody problem arisen in the field. They seem to be of the opinion that science is a housemaid’s subject any nitwit can handle even without a primary level formal education of it. One of the accomplices of BalangodaMan who had no any formal education in science, acted in the forum as a science expert and gave all sort of advices on science and later disclosed to be a person who did not know simple facts in chemistry and professed theories about separating methyl alcohol from ethyl in kassippu. He used to recommend all sort of scientific solutions to any bloody ailment of anybody’s back side and now his successor seems to take over the role. Now he seems to have appointed himself as the authority of Science and Religion for the Asian and North American region he lives. These swollen headed idiots, who do not know their proper size, try to pass judgements on them on authority. These people have no a slightest idea of the damage they are doing to the world by trying to man handle such vast and important areas of knowledge under the limited square of their perception can bear. People need special skills to handle such subtle knowledge areas and not every nitwit can govern them on authority or on mere wishful thinking they have about their capabilities. What huge sweeping generalizations they make off hand, please see their high mind (empty head),

    “…..my writing in the last 2 threads draws upon examples of all major religions to demostrate that the absurdities and failings therein, as well as the benefits, apply to all of them equally. My viewpoint is not against religion per se, or any particular religion, but against the claim that any religion is ‘true’ while others are not. All religions serve the same purposes.”

    He has authoritatively over ruled that one religion cannot have any better things than others. What a swollen headed dictator mutt!

    However, coming back to the main topic, just as you said Science try to dig into the origins of things. It is true, but if you look at the original objective of science, finding the reality (if available) or finding a Theory of Everything, the course it has taken so far is immaterial because it has still to show its success. Therefore digging in to origins or “Analysis” may not be the step taken to the right direction. Really Science has deviated from its original objective, especially when it started to grow in Europe, with the interests of the people to gain economic advantages to uplift their life conditions. Here the objective deviated towards the more practical/ application side of it and started growing towards technology as its main aim. Only that interest brought the weaker but quick so called “Scientific Method” based on “inductive logic” to science by people like Francis Bacon. However, in a deeper sense, the ultimate objective of any methodology used in science is to “dig out” the truth or reality. Therefore as far as that objective is the main aim of science, it cannot limit its methodologies to some limited set. Science does use “digging in” (analysis) in many specifically divided subject areas, in keeping in mind the “synthesis” of their findings to form the total picture, that is the final formula (ultimate reality, Theory of Everything) of the universe. Still Science has no a definite clue in this regards and hence science has no hesitation to change its course to whatever directions possible, to achieve its end. It will not lie down in or limit to a set of limited methodologies that didn’t bring its desired results. Modern science is already showing this, by keeping aside almost all the scientific knowledge gathered through Classical Science, in shifting to Modern Science. Modern Science is a paradigm shift in all aspects of science including the methodologies used in it. They use modern methodologies to dig out scientific knowledge that has been never heard before in the history of science. To day the science is not limited to “traditional” methodologies like “so called scientific methodology” or chemical analysis or to some limited number of methods. The scope of the methodologies used in sciences today has widened and changed immensely. Those fiction reading science lovers have no knowledge of them, still walking blindly with their old “hanamitiya” on their heads. If they are sleeping we can awake them, but if they are blind and rude as ever and wants to teach the world what they know as ever, mona deyyanta kiyannada (whom to tell)?

    Thanks!

  • Heshan

    Dear Yapa:

    Surely the “God” we discussed in the previous discussions was “Creator God”, mentioned in the Bible and in other religious records in western religions and nothing else. The existence of this creator god, who is omnipotent, is clearly disproved by Averroes’ argument, and I have quoted the argument several times. Therefore there is no space for this “particular god” for existence.

    The “Creator God” question does not boil down to a “chicken or egg” dilemna, as you propose, but actually rests on another question: can something be created out of nothing?

    “Before the creation of the Universe, the Unmanifest was stationed in itself and the product (the Universe) was withdrawn.” – Brahma Purana (http://ia311242.us.archive.org/3/items/BrahmandaPurana/BrahmandaPuI.pdf)

    How does science answer this question?

    Heisenberg’s principle implies, for example, that the very space around us is seething with subatomic particles, popping in and out of empty space. During their fleeting existence, these “vacuum particles” interact with each other, and turn the supposedly dull vacuum of space into the quantum vacuum – which astronomers now know is anything but dull. Observations suggest the expansion of the entire cosmos is being propelled by quantum vacuum energy, in the form of enigmatic “dark energy”.

    Some theorists now think they can go even further, and use the physics of something for nothing to explain the origin of literally everything. They claim that the Big Bang from which the entire universe emerged was the result of convulsions in the quantum vacuum which took place around 14 billion years ago.

    New theoretical work on the nature of matter suggests we may now have to regard even ourselves to be manifestations of the quantum vacuum.

    All atoms are made up of electrons plus a far more massive central nucleus, made up of clusters of particles called quarks. It seems obvious that the mass of the nucleus must be the sum total of the masses of its quarks – but that reckons without the effect of the quantum vacuum. It turns out that the quarks account for only a tiny fraction of the total mass of a nucleus. By far the bulk comes from the subatomic “glue” that binds its quarks together. And this glue takes the form of vacuum particles flitting in and out of existence.

    http://quantumphysics.tribe.net/thread/e7cd5323-3efb-4025-99a1-944aee173e55

    As you can see, physics always assumes that a certain energy was here. It does not care how the energy was created. In fact, it is impossible to answer this question, “how did God A create God B, God B create God C, C create D, D create E… etc. The argument is circular. It is equivalent to asking, what is the biggest number (because I can simply add 1 to whatever number you give me). But you see that the existence of a number does not depend on whether or not there is a biggest number or a smallest number. In order to guage the properties of a number, it is necessary to specify what set the number belongs to – one is then able to understand certain characteristics of the number immediately, based on relations that apply to the set, without performing any calculations.
    The “Creator God” argument assumes that God is equivalent to the set of all sets. If the Universe is another set, then it is simply a subset of the God set.
    What is interesting is that even in mathematics, one does not ask how the universal set, U, was created. One simply takes it for granted. But one cannot deny that the universal set exists. After all, there is an empty set – e.g. a set with no elements, so its opposite, U, must exist.

    The destiny of a being after the death (and before birth) is still an unsolved problem, as there is no one solution for this accepted by all. Therefore there is a vacuum for a theory of the sort of reincarnation in this case (unlike in the case of Creator god).

    Actually, given that life and death is a 24/7 phenomenon of nature, it should be easy to prove whether reincarnation is true or not. The creation of the universe, however, was a one-time event. Nevertheless, one is able to verify that whatever energy created the universe still exists today.

    Anybody can objectively explore/analyze and see, among these three theories, without any doubt Buddhist theory is far ahead of the other two.

    Actually, there are many problems: for example, Buddha never denied the existence of God (so how can you say a soul is not necessary for rebirth). Also, Buddha did not explain what happens when rebirth is completed. And finally, Buddhist rebirth is a modified form of Hindu rebirth; it is difficult to say, on the basis of the modification alone, that the Buddhist rebirth idea is superior. Lack of originality presents certain difficulties.

  • SomewhatDisgusted

    Dear Mr. Yapa,

    Your post of September 3, 2010 @ 8:23 am

    It’s always nice to have someone write long-winded paeans in my name, no matter how perverted the logic employed. Your filibustering and ad-hominem arguments are as usual, orthogonal to the point, but fascinatingly enjoyable. It’s long been a battle to decide who amongst the posters on this forum is the most merciless at brutalizing logic and reason. Have no fear, you seem to be in the lead at the moment. Please keep em coming!

  • Heshan

    Yes I was part of that thread, and the quality of your own posts reinforces the argument that even excrement of a dog can be reborn as a human.

    Speaking of quality, I am not the one who has lost every single argument in this forum. Perhaps you should take some advice from the last four letters of your name.

    You have to admit that the idea of reincarnation makes a lot more sense than some of the silliness out there, like woman being created out of man’s rib or that a certain somebody could die for others’ “sins” because he deluded himself to believe he’s the Son of God.

    I accept that the Bible is mythology, and so do people who study the Bible in its original languages. The opinion of professional scholars is really all that matters. But you and your friends in the orange robes are the one making a case for Mahavamsa, when it fact it has close to zero historical value.


    Mahavamsa did not create this “Sons of Soil” mentality among the Sinhalese- it is rather a SYMPTOM of this mentality. “Sons of Soil” comes from the fact that there isn’t any other place in the world that has Sinhala people in significant numbers.

    So are you denying that Dutugemunu said he was surrounded by the sea on one side, and (hostile) Tamils on the other? Are you saying, as per Mahavamsa, that Buddha flew through the air to S. Lanka? Are you denying that “Prince” Vijaya from Orissa sailed on the ocean blue with his fair-skinned “Aryan” brothers? The root of all Sinhalese nationalism can either be directly found in, or else has parallels to, Mahavamsa.


    I never said that Buddhism should be given special mention. I told Burning_Issue the reasons why Sinhalese want this provision and how these feelings must change if the Constitution is to be changed.

    You never opposed or condemned such a provision which is evidence of your usual (subtle) racist tactic – to play around with words, concealing a racist viewpoint, and then later flatly deny it.

    Actually I have not come across evidence that Vijaya, prince or merchant, was even a historical person, as I clearly stated in my rebuttal to Lankamithra Fernando.

    And yet you would agree that Mahavamsa should be taught in the public schools?


    It would be nice if you could provide evidence for that. Unfortunately, you can’t!

    BalangodaMan has already made a strong case for this. On the other hand, the failure of Mahavamsa to mention such an important phenomenon, speaks volumes about its accuracy and attempts to deceive.

  • BalangodaMan

    Religion, faith and science
    ——————————–
    “In view of above, there is no barrier for some areas of religions for scientific investigation and Pancha Niyama Dharma and Paticca Samuppada qualify for it.”

    If a religious leader says “the sky is blue” it does not need faith for anyone to see that it is. And if science subsequently goes on to prove that the sky is indeed blue that does not validate the other religious theories that DO require faith.

    As I said in another post, ‘faith’ is needed in order to believe things that are generally thought to be incredulous. A collection of items that require ‘faith’ is what we generally call ‘a religion’. A specific ‘religious faith’ (eg. Christianity, Islam, Buddhism) enables us to understand and sell this collection as a distinct packaged product.

    Mr Yapa, all religions state the obvious in some parts. That does not confirm other things contained in the package to be true. Most require varying degrees of faith (such as karma, rebirth, nirvana, god, Mohammed is the messenger of god, Jesus is the son of, that any human can become omniscient).

  • BalangodaMan

    Heshan,

    “So in the case of religion, we can gauge the value of its practical application not by the abstruseness of its doctrines, but by its ability to evolve and integrate with fluctuating societal and other dynamics.”

    Exactly, and well put.

    Example: Which is why I argued that a modern commercialised society it is hypocritical to preach an ideology based on ‘wanting things brings unhappiness’. Indeed, the entire economy is driven by people wanting things, often to excess. Do we ban advertising? Or do we reject the ideology as something that could apply practically to ascetics only (people who have rejected society) and not ordinary people who are part of the economy? To be useful to modern society the ancient idea should be revised to encourage people to strive for better even though we may not reach the ideal we are aiming for (no gain without pain, speculate to accumulate etc). Otherwise no one would do anything.

    Religion needs to keep up with modern needs. As I said before, I do not expect people in 2,500 years time to refer to the Windows 7 documentation to fix their computers.

  • BalangodaMan

    “but by its ability to evolve and integrate with fluctuating societal and other dynamics.”

    Further, it is interesting to note the extent to which even the ardent followers of all religions have abandoned the fundamentals of their religion for Earthly gain – the manner of the conclusion of the recent war is an example, along with the commercialisation of society in SL (‘greed’ as with the rest of the world, and why not?), knocking other religions and looking to god(s) for quick fixes, worshipping physical structures and plants. A case of fundamentalists having abandoned the fundamentals but yet promoting a fundamentalist position as a fundamental requirement to others.

    (But Mr Yapa, you put the ‘fun’ back in fundamentalist and we applaud you for that. I join SomewhatDisgusted in requesting that you continue to give us more entertainment)

  • rajivmw

    Heshan & BalangodaMan,

    Religions per se don’t really evolve. Religion concerns absolute truths, which by definition don’t bend to expediency. On the other hand, societies evolve. And the role and significance of religion in those societies evolve.

    For example, religion was hugely important in Europe once upon a time, but that is obviously not the case today. It is not that Christianity has changed, it is that Europeans don’t take it quite as seriously (or literally) anymore. However the basic ethical foundation of European society is still mainly drawn from Christianity. And that is how it should be.

    Heshan, I don’t subscribe to your oft-expressed view that Christianity is somehow more functional than other religions. The five precepts in Buddhism are just as simple to understand and apply as the ten commandments. Circumstances change. The Buddhist world has had its golden age, as have the Hindu, Christian and Islamic worlds. The current ascendency of the West cannot really be attributed to Christianity – it is a triumph of secular humanism.

    BalangodaMan, all religions, Christianity included, caution against greed and unchecked materialism. And considering the state of our planet today, we should think twice about tossing away this counsel like it was some old operating system.

  • yapa

    “Religion needs to keep up with modern needs. As I said before, I do not expect people in 2,500 years time to refer to the Windows 7 documentation to fix their computers.”

    Come on modern CHARVAKA!

    You have already taken a an Indian philosophy that is older than 2500years to shape your thinking. You are following the materialistic philosophy preached by Charvaka, and Ajitha Kesakambala etc.. etc.. long ago.

    BalangodaMan is nor a modern man. He is still a primitive man who follows a rotten parts of old Indian teaching.

    This is called “Daha pole ga geneema”.

    God, please forgive this ignorant man.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    1. “Indeed, the entire economy is driven by people wanting things, often to excess. Do we ban advertising? Or do we reject the ideology as something that could apply practically to ascetics only (people who have rejected society) and not ordinary people who are part of the economy?”

    2. “Religion needs to keep up with modern needs.”

    That is the philosophy of animals Their sole aim is to satisfy their sensory desires. They do not need a philosophy going further than that.

    Kanna denava nam,
    Bonna denava nam,
    Vena ken gediyada,
    Thava onekaranne…..//

    Kapalla, beepalla, jolly karapalla!

    Thanks!

  • longus

    Heshan

    The idea that, as the universe started in a”Big Bang”-as per now- that it should start from a singularity (where the laws of physics break down) is not a necessity. Actually the singularity (which is hailed by the creationists!) is only one of many millions of “histories” that the universe could possibly have. The histories in which there was no singularity the “laws of physics” do not break down, and it becomes a “quantum marble” where the uncertainty principle operates.

    The energy of this “quantum marble” cannot be zero as in that case it would violate the basics of the Quantum Physics. So it could fluctuate beween zero and the amount of energy needed to set off the big bang – once in a long long life time of course!- and so the universe and everything and Heshan ensued! It could have been another universe which is entirely different from ours where the hydrogen atom is 1.1 times haevier than it is in ours, where life would not have evolved. We cannot know about such a universe as we would not have been there in the first place to question like that! (anthropic theory)

    Therefore you can see that the creation of the universe from a singularity is not a necessity ; so does the role of a God

  • yapa

    Dear BalangodaWoman;

    Will you please disprove the two doctrines of Buddhism I have mentioned, to substantiate your theory that all religions are equal?

    Thanks Madam!

  • BalangodaMan

    Rajivmw,

    “All religions … caution against greed and unchecked materialism”
    Of course, and right that they do as well.

    (pls forgive my digression into religious doctrine)
    However, it is a fundamental teaching of the religion of the community I grew up in that ‘craving’ is the source which makes life ‘unsatisfactory’, leading to a desire to end the cycle of life. Arguably it is the craving for life itself, or the pleasures of it, that perpetuate the cycle of life. So, the ‘greed’ that I mentioned is not ‘excessive and unchecked greed’ (which I agree is a recipe for trouble) but simply ‘wanting things, including life itself’ in the most fundamental form. I have already stated elsewhere that living in the modern world I could not see how my own life-view can conform to that view in any shape or form (I like to think that life is a gift to enjoy and be grateful for, and its a worthwhile thing to promote that among people who may be prone to occasionally doubt it) – and neither do nearly all of the people in my community who outwardly profess to be ‘believers’ but have evidently rejected the very basis of the ‘truths’ on which the religion sits (as, given a choice, they would like to have a life all over again, if possible, regardless of what the religious books and the priests say, rather than not).

    End of religious digression.

  • BalangodaMan

    Longus,

    “Therefore you can see that the creation of the universe from a singularity is not a necessity ; so does the role of a God”

    Actually, debating who created the Universe is quite secondary, I think. The primary question, in my view, is who or what created ‘our conciousness’ – by which I mean ‘the mechanism that makes us feel that we are living, that ‘I’ exist, with all the consequences of that, the impending end of that, speculating and possible fear of what form that conciousness would take subsequently, including the perception of a Universe and the physical world’.

    Most discussions on the existence or not of god (the creator variety) presupposes that the physical Universe IS the basic creation. It very likely isn’t. The basic creation could well be our capacity to ‘feel that we are living’, our conciousness, the ‘I’. Who created that ? (Anyone into Matrix-Buddhism will know what I mean) and is it likely that we are able to comprehend the answer even it we were told it? In my view, we can only speculate on that (privately), in which case our understanding of ‘god’ is one that we define ourselves, individually.

    (Matrix-Buddhism = the physical Universe is a perception/deception created in our conciousness by some design. Purpose unknown and open to speculation)

  • BalangodaMan

    Mr Yapa,

    All religions are not equal, but they exist to meet the same needs of different tribes within human civilisation in various times in history and today. They meet those needs to an equal degree of success (eg. comfort in times of need, ritual), and also give us problems for equally the same reasons. (for example, because of a need that insecure societies have to claim superiority over others, to rally the troops in battle against enemies etc)

    I hope that answers your question.

  • Burning_Issue

    I very much like the debate that both Heshan and Wijayapala are having; it is certainly the heart of the matter.

    Heshan, I salute you for the below:

    “I guess you’re not aware of the separation of church and state principle. It is forbidden to teach the Bible in public schools in USA. Even public prayer is forbidden. On the other hand, Mahavamasa is used in Sri Lankan schools to teach a version of history that is 95% wrong. For example, the “Aryan race theory” has long been discredited by scholars. There was no Aryan race that invaded India. Unfortunately, the Arynan theory, which was created by the British, was then taken up by racists like Anagarika Dharmapala, and since that time, has been used to reinforce (and further distort) the deceptions proposed by Mahavamsa. Is it any wonder that S. Lanka was unable to peacefully resolve a simple ethnic conflict? Part of that inability has to do with the intransigent nature of the “Mahavamsa Mindset”, which even today, is a potent force. Basically, the Sri Lankan schools in the South – even the private ones – are producing generations of students who believe (1) Sinhalese are Aryan (2) the entire island belongs to Sinhalese, (3) Sinhalese came to the island first, (4) Tamils are invaders. None of these beliefs can be substantiated and verified using any objective, neutral analysis.”

    To me, whether God exists or not; whether the universe is created by a phenomenon of God is a personal matter. People have varied opinions and perceptions that they need to reconcile with their conscience. In the name of God many around the world committed evil crimes and thought nothing of it! It is precisely for these reasons; a state must elevate itself from any religious constraints. A state must view, analyse, judge and prosecute on the basis of absolute equality; it must govern with conscience that is based on secular humanism and nothing less and nothing more.

  • longus

    BalangodaMan

    What made you think that only humans have a consciousness? Most of the higher animals seem to have a consciousness. This can be assessed by estimating the higher brain functions (cognitive, memory and learning) of animals. Not only the intelligent animals like the dolphin, primates and elephant have been shown to possess a consciousness, some invertebrates like the octopus too falls into this category. This could be nothing special, but a natural out come of the evolutionary process. For example if the dinosaurs did not become extinct they would have taken the place of the present day humans!

    But a problem does exist as to from where in the animal kingdom this distinction takes shape. Certainly a bacteria is considered a plant and therefore may not possess a consciousness! But we may well be wrong and the founder of Jainism, Maha Weera (and for that matter late Dr. E.W.Adikaram) may be right in assuming that the plants too have a consciousness!

  • longus

    Yapa

    Now we’ll get on to “paticca samuppada” or “causative origin”!
    It is a cause and effect chain of events which according to Budda explains the “exisitence” of the Being and its travel through the “sansara”

    It starts with “ignorance (avijja) which gives origin to good and evil karma(sankaara)”.
    According to Buddha “ignorance” here meansthe lack of knowledge of the “impermanant nature of the world”

    Then the the effect of Karma gives origin to “consciousness”(vin^nana). When a person dies, according to this doctrine the next consciousness takes origin in another place, as another being. As a train of continuous thoughts the consciousness is transferred to a suitable candidate “somewhere in the universe”
    How this happens in beyond the scope of science at least for the time being!
    I really don’t know how in this case the other “karmas” (apart from the causative karma for the new birth) are supposed to follow the new life. According to some Buddhist scholars like Ven. Henepitagedara N^anaseeha and Ven. Kannimahara Sumangala the last thought of this life with all the other past karmas make itself into a ‘package” and travels like a “gandhbba”or a transient entity. This is different to a permanant soul-according to them, as it is governed by the principle of impermanance. This may be a modification to the Hinduism’s permanant soul by the Buddha (as Heshan says) or something different!

    This consciousness (vin^nana) gives origin to “thoughts and forms”(naama-rupa) Naama includes various functions of the mind and “rupa” means the physical form.

    Naama-Rupa gives origin to the “six senses”(shadayathana) and this includes the five senses and mind -mind is included as a sense organ here

    Due to these six senses a “contact” happens;this contact could well happen while the baby is still in the mother’s womb. (my idea)

    The contact with the senses causes a stimulus, and the stimulus gives origin to greed or “grasping the pleasent stimulus tightly”-if it is unpleasent it should be a repulsion, but both are equal responses according to Buddha.

    The greed gives origin to the “life” and all its consequent sufferings (as Buddhism basically considers life or any kind of “existence” for that matter as “suffering”

    This is the outline of “Paticca Samuppada” as I have read it-there may be other interpretations as well, and Buddha is said to have been contemplating on it for “one whole week” under the Bo tree after attaining the Buddhahood, before he embarked on his mission.

    The first thing that strikes you is the seeming irregular or incoherent way that this doctrine explains the cause and effect with regards to the existance of life. Maybe another person could have given a different kind of “cause and effect” chain, for example one could say the cause for the “ignorance’ (the “first cause” of the sequence) is senses, or in any otherway.

    This is a doctrine that Buddha preached as one of his core realisations, and what I see in it is it cannot be verified by any other means except by “attaining the same” (ehi-passiko). This is in clear loggerheads with the scientific investigation in a great way!

    So, finally don’t expect a personal experience (or realization) could become a “theory of everything” as you claim.

  • wijayapala

    Dear Burning_Issue

    Good to hear from you again!

    I very much like the debate that both Heshan and Wijayapala are having; it is certainly the heart of the matter

    Really? I had the impression that our discussion was certainly the BUTT of the matter, looking at Heshan’s trademark responses:

    I am not the one who has lost every single argument in this forum. Perhaps you should take some advice from the last four letters of your name.

    I cannot speak for Islam in Sri Lanka, but there is no such hierarchy within the Hindu faith at all in Sri Lanka. I still maintain that, there is collaboration between the GOSL and Buddhist establishments in Sri Lanka; without which, Buddhist Monks cannot be allocated for various Buddha statue ceremonies around North and East.

    There is collaboration between the Rajapakshas and individual monks, not “establishments” as you claim. Have you already forgotten how they silenced the Nikayas from criticizing the treatment of Fonseka?

    As for these Buddha statue ceremonies, there is far less conspiracy than you may believe. Some soldiers may install such a statue somewhere and one of them will invite a monk from his village to conduct bana. Or at one of the bases, one of the commanding officers may invite a monk that he knows. That is the extent of the “collaboration” you are referring to, and I would be quite surprised if it turned out that this was policy coordinated by the Rajapakshas.

    I find it curious whenever Tamils attribute conspiracy theories to us, under the assumption that we are very organized or something when we are clearly not, but then again we attribute similar theories to the Tamils.

    “This is an easy one to answer. We don’t have any intellectuals!”
    I am dumbfounded completely! Is this why we cannot find solutions for our problems?

    To a great extent. The “civil society” types in Colombo are more familiar with Switzerland than what is going on in SL.

    “There is one slight difference- there had been Buddhist sites in the region previously which disappeared as Buddhism disappeared. Kantarodai is one of the last surviving of those sites.”
    There is no proof that the Kanthaiodai was as a result of Sinhala Buddhism, is there?

    Where did I use the term “Sinhala” Buddhism, and what difference does it make whether the builders of the Kantarodai stupas were Sinhala or Tamil?

    Why is it necessary so soon after ending the war, there is a need to place Buddha statues?

    I see two reasons. The benign answer that most ignorant Sinhalese like me would say is that there are a gazillion soldiers currently in the NE and that they should have the right to follow their religion. The more sinister, conspiracy-theory answer is that the Sinhalese are intentionally placing these statues to “prove” that Tamil Eelam has been crushed. Actually there is merit to this latter theory as right-wing Sinhalese were doing this in Trincomalee before the war started up, placing Buddha in the middle of a fishmongering area! It’s a similar mentality as a dog urinating to mark his territory.

    Regardless of which answer is correct, the decisive factor behind the Buddha statues is the large SLA presence, and therefore the solution is for the SLA to leave or at least greatly reduce its presence. That is precisely why I asked you whether you want the SLA gone or the Buddha statues.

    Never mind about MR; a vast majority of the Sinhala Buddhists follow Hindu Deities religiously! One only needs to see the busses, lorries, vans, and autos; they all have a framed picture with 5 Deities: Saraswathy, Ganesh, Murughan, and two forms of Buddha; how do you explain this?
    “On my visit to Jaffna; I saw Buddhist Monks in side Hindu temples a few were attending annual festivals; I have photos to prove it; how do you explain this?

    Clearly orthodox Buddhism has no appeal (except for some Westerners). Would you prefer us to be more anti-Hindu?

    The same Gotabhaya whom you defended as saying that best to occupy as the Defence Secretary!
    “How do we know that there isn’t anyone better?

    Because you haven’t told us who he or she is!

  • yapa

    “All religions are not equal, but they exist to meet the same needs of different tribes within human civilisation in various times in history and today. They meet those needs to an equal degree of success (eg. comfort in times of need, ritual), and also give us problems for equally the same reasons.”

    Please support your view with evidence. I say this is untrue. On the other hand how do you disprove Paticca Samuppada and Pancha Niyama Dharma as untrue on this basis. For me, your statements have no relevance in regard to that. That is the basis for you to prove your earlier statement. I hope you will clarify the matter standing behind yourself.

    Thanks!

  • wijayapala

    Prof Heshan

    But you and your friends in the orange robes are the one making a case for Mahavamsa, when it fact it has close to zero historical value.

    Can you provide a single historian from the last 20 years who has made this claim?

    As I told Lankamithra, the Mahavamsa confirms a number of episodes from TAMIL history, such as the story of King Senguttuvan as well the existence of Thenmadurai, which was otherwise considered a myth of Sangam literature. But you apparently are not aware of this because you are equally ignorant of Sinhala and Tamil history/culture!

    Mahavamsa did not create this “Sons of Soil” mentality among the Sinhalese- ***it is rather a SYMPTOM of this mentality.*** “Sons of Soil” comes from the fact that there isn’t any other place in the world that has Sinhala people in significant numbers.
    So are you denying that Dutugemunu said he was surrounded by the sea on one side, and (hostile) Tamils on the other?

    Sigh.. Heshan, you really need to work on your reading skills. Maybe your arguments about the Mahavamsa would have some credibility if you had actually bothered to read it!

    Take another look at what I said above (I bolded and ***asterisked*** the key part since I’m sure you’ll miss it). The Dutugemunu story in itself did not create Sinhala nationalism or paranoia but was rather the product of it. Why else would he (or rather, the chronicler) say those things if there was a flourishing Sinhala civilization next door in India?

    And yet you would agree that Mahavamsa should be taught in the public schools?

    To my knowledge, Mahavamsa is not taught in public schools. I never read it when I was in school. Instead, history is taught through poorly-written textbooks that focus on Tamil invasions even more than the Mahavamsa itself!

    BalangodaMan has already made a strong case for this.

    Not quite. If you had read the Mahavamsa, you would have noticed how it acknowledges “Tamil Buddhism” (or rather, the variant of Buddhism that was dominant in Tamil Nadu back then) and its influence in Sri Lanka. This alternate Buddhism, which one can tentatively identify as “Mahayana” or at least non-Theravada, had its stronghold in the Abhayagiri monastery, where it competed with Theravada orthodoxy in Mahavihara (I bolded these terms for your Google learning experience).

    The influence of this alternate Buddhism can be seen in the rise of Buddha statues in SL, ironically enough! You see, Theravada Buddhism of Emperor Asoka’s time did not have Buddha statues; Buddha was never depicted in human form in early Buddhist art, arguably because he was too “perfect” to be adequately portrayed. This changed when the Greeks came in contact with Buddhism and constructed the first statues in Gandhara, with Buddha wearing a toga. This practice filtered southward and probably came to SL via Tamil Nadu.

  • yapa

    “Mr Yapa, all religions state the obvious in some parts. That does not confirm other things contained in the package to be true.”

    Exactly,

    However, you profess they are untrue, right? You reject them? Then please prove or substantiate your case by systematically rejecting two doctrines in Buddhism. I will become an atheist the very moment you disprove them. I promise you.

    Thanks!

  • wijayapala

    Unfortunately, the Arynan theory, **which was created by the British,** was then taken up by racists like Anagarika Dharmapala, and since that time, has been used to reinforce (and further distort) the deceptions proposed by Mahavamsa. Is it any wonder that S. Lanka was unable to peacefully resolve a simple ethnic conflict? Part of that inability has to do with the intransigent nature of the “Mahavamsa Mindset”, which even today, is a potent force.

    So in other words, the so-called “Mahavamsa Mindset” did not derive from the Mahavamsa, but rather from colonialism and European racism. Thank you for this revelation!!

    I hope I have given enough information for you to dig yourself out of your pit of self-imposed ignorance. Happy googling!

  • yapa

    Addition…

    You can justify your claim only by disproving at least one of the doctrines of Buddhism.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear Burning_Issue;

    “Yes, Yapa wants peace but only on the basis that the Sinhala Buddhists own the Island and the rest is tolerated as invaders; as long as such people understand this Reality, then he is at peace!”

    Sorry, I didn’t see your particular post of August 24, 2010 @ 9:45 pm

    Didn’t you also notice that some people want peace only on the basis of Tamils own the island before Sinhalese and also after totally rejecting the Mahawamsa?

    I think, looking at both sides is a better idea. don’t you think so?

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear longus;

    I am very much thankful to you for showing this forum that there is some substance worthwhile for exploring in those “old religions”, some people used to reject in whole sale even without knowing a single stanza mentioned in them. You have lifted the discussion to a higher plane by taking out some valuable arguments, which have been kept aside by ignorant pandiths just because they are old or just because they contain in a “religion”. I am also in the process of re-examine in them in a, I should say, Scientific way with my little background of Science. I have found it is worthwhile.

    I would like to share some clues; I have collected for my investigation in this regard. I came to understand that Culla Kamma Vibhanga Sutta, Sela Sutta, Arya Shalissthamba Sutta, Maha Thanha Sankhaya Sutta, Dhamma ChakkaPavaththana Sutta and Succa Vibhanga would help in this regard. Further, Books: Bauddha Dharshanaya saha Sanskruthiya by Prof.Chandima Wijebandara & H.M. Moratuwegama and Early Buddhist Theory of Knowledge by Prof. K.N. Jayatillake would help.

    Further, very recently I had the opportunity of reading a very interesting book on the subject by one school principle, named A. K. Thilakarathne. The name of the book is Chuthi Pati Sandhi Vibhagaya. He was able to explain most of the phenomena in a very logical way, though I am not very sure whether it is perfect. He argues with some supporting facts that the consciousness is not the entity that transmigrates in rebirth. Any way it is an interesting book worthwhile reading.

    While agreeing with your notion that the ultimate goal prescribed in Buddhism cannot be realized, except by “attaining the same” most of the doctrines of Buddhism can be understood by the average people through normal methodologies in knowledge gaining. That is why the Buddha preached them to average people and how average people understood before attaining the same at least to a certain extent.

    Further, there is one thing I would like to mention at this instance. It is not a secret that people have a tendency to simply refuse/reject anything other than objective knowledge, mainly under the influence of the notions spread by Science. I think this notion to believe only the objective realities/truths has leveled a mighty blow in the present era to the enterprise of exploring knowledge. Keeping other knowledge systems outside the purview of exploration has done an immense damage to this endeavour. I think it is time for us to accept that there are “Personal Realities” as well and they too are important as objective realities. For example I have no doubt about the “Horoscope Phenomena” I mentioned earlier, but I have no way to convince anybody of that by any scientific or any accepted method in the present belief system about knowledge/reality. Anybody could experience the same experience as I had personally, that is, these personal experiences or realities are “Reproducible, but the problem is that there is no way to understand them as common to all, or in other words, one’s experience keeps limited to that person and all cannot be convinced it at one time.

    We should think about subtleties, to understand the world and should not blindly rejecteverything on whole sale basis on the basis of the available notions alone. Then only we can produce “new notions” to enrich our reservoir of knowledge. If Galileo didn’t think in a different way and if trapped in the “traditional thinking of Aristotalian “Science”,we would still be thinking that the earth is the centre of the universe. In all the periods of time there were people who didn’t want to deviate from their “Traditional Thinking” saying what they believe is “Scientific”, and opposed changes. BalangodaWomen is a all time phenomenon.

    Thanks!

  • longus

    Heshan

    You readily accept that Judeo-christian culture is the dominant culture in America but fails to acknowledge the same with the Sinhalese-Buddhist culture in Sri Lanka. Bigotry?

    I don’t know who has discredited the theory that the Aryans settled in Sri Lanka! As Sinhala language belongs to Indo-Aryan class I don’t know how you can prove the lineage between the North-Indian languages and the European languages-and Sinhala!

    Though you call Anagarika Darmapala a “racist” if you have an aota of knowledge of the independence struggle and what role Anagarika played in that in reinstating the morale and the national pride of the Sinhalese,you wouldn’t have uttered such nonsense!

  • Heshan

    To my knowledge, Mahavamsa is not taught in public schools.

    There is no point in engaging in further debate with those who perpetuate such blatantly obvious lies. I reserve the right to simply ignore any future post emanating from the said source, at my discretion.

    “Mahawamsa is the Book of Sinhala Buddhism, a faith which resulted from a perversion of the teachings of Gautama Buddha. I say perversion with deliberation. When a religion premised on ahimsa towards not just humans but all living beings, a religion that tells its adherents not to kill because, `All beings tremble before violence. All fear death. All love life. See yourself in others` (Dhammapada), is used to justify the `slaughter of a great host numbering millions` simply because they happened to be `unbelievers`, then that use is an abuse, and its outcome a perversion which is the antithesis of the original teaching. According to Mahavamsa when a conscience stricken King Dutugemunu was lamenting over `the slaughter of a great host numbering millions` in his war against Elara, a group of monks arrived to console the King: `From this deed arises no hindrance in thy way to heaven. Only one and a half human beings have been slain here by thee, O lord of men. The one had come unto the (three) refuges, the other had taken on himself the give precepts.

    It is easy to dismiss these tales as myths but they are the noxious fare on which most Sinhala children are raised. According to Indian journalist Aditi Phadnis, `There is just one painting on the wall in the Sri Lanka Army Commander`s office in Colombo. It portrays a Sinhalese king on an elephant with a vanquished Tamil chieftain cowering at his feet. This is a stylised portrayal of the war between Dutugemunu and Elara ` (Business Standard 24.1.2009). This story fits in well with the publicly expressed views of Gen. Fonseka, especially on the nature of Sri Lanka and the place of the minorities in it. With such people in control of the war effort, the government`s obdurate refusal to consent to a temporary ceasefire to facilitate an internationally managed evacuation of the trapped Tamil civilians becomes eminently comprehensible.

    There were wars even during the time of the Buddha some of them were waged by rulers who were his disciples. But these wars were waged for political reasons they were not waged against the enemies of Buddhism or to safeguard Buddhism. Nor did the Buddha take sides in these conflicts. The concept of holy war, of engaging in violent battles for the sake of religion is completely alien to the teachings of the Buddha. That concept was introduced into Buddhism by the author of Mahawamsa, with the ethno-religious twist he gave to a war waged between two kings about seven centuries previously. Even according to the Mahavamsa, Elara was a just king and was accepted as such by men and gods. Still Mahawamsa justifies waging war against him and killing him simply because he was an unbeliever. It introduces the notion of the war against unbelievers as not just sinless but also as meritorious, akin to Crusades and Jihads.

    - Tisaranee Gunasekara

    http://www.lankanewspapers.com/news/2009/3/41599_space.html

  • Heshan

    longus,

    You readily accept that Judeo-christian culture is the dominant culture in America but fails to acknowledge the same with the Sinhalese-Buddhist culture in Sri Lanka. Bigotry?

    What matters are the Judeo-Christian values, e.g. system of morals. These have functioned well in politics, economics, the judicial system, etc. For example, honesty (integrity) is valued in both politics and business. The (incumbent) American President cannot simply nominate his friends and family to high positions of power and get rich off the commissions. The media would hound him to no end – in the States, negative media attention is enough to end a person’s career, even if they are a Senator (Parliamentarian). Here, if a business cheats you, you can easily seek redress in the Courts; there is no powerful MP to block the investigation. Here, if you go to a tourist site, and you are a foreigner, you pay the same rate as a local – in fact, everyone pays the same rate.

    Now, what about the dominant Sinhalese-Buddhist culture in SL? Well, it is a culture in which dishonesty prevails. The colonials did not create that culture. IMO, it began with racists like Dharmapala during the so-called “Buddhist revival.” Dharmapala and friends compared the status of Sinhalese (specifically Buddhists) during ancient times to the status of Sinhalese during colonial times, and somehow reached the factitious conclusion that colonialism had deprived Sinhalese of their “rightful” ownership of the island. Virtually every Sinhalese President since Independence has followed that logic, exploiting the nationalist sentiment of the downtrodden rural Sinhalese, to enhance their own prestige and power.

    In fact, much of the dishonesty stems from the inability of the dominant culture to successfully transition from a feudalistic society to a modern capitalist society. There has always been a certain group from the majority community, even since colonial times, opposing the practice of capitalism on the island. Capitalism, is in fact a Western philosophy. But it is in total opposition to feudalism. One-person/one-family rule belongs to the domain of socialism/communism . In capitalism, what matters are the institutions, and more importantly, their ability to function independently, without undue political or other interference. The climate of dishonesty that prevails in SL is due to the failure of these institutions to evolve in accordance with a coherent set of morals and values. I have already pointed out how in the States, Judeo-Christian morality is able to fill this gap.

    I don’t know who has discredited the theory that the Aryans settled in Sri Lanka! As Sinhala language belongs to Indo-Aryan class I don’t know how you can prove the lineage between the North-Indian languages and the European languages-and Sinhala!

    If the Aryans did not settle in India, then it follows that they did not settle in Sri Lanka.

    “From this it is apparent that the Harappans, though inhabiting a vast area, fell victim to a sudden calamity which forced them to seek shelter in other parts of ancient India. The usual explanation found in history books is that the inhabitants of the Harappan cities were driven out by the invading Aryans. However it is now recognized by scholars that the Aryan invasion theory of India is a myth that owes more to European politics than anything in Indian records or archaeology. (The politics of History, The Hindustan Times, Nov. 28 1993).”

    http://www.archaeologyonline.net/artifacts/aryan-harappan-myth.html


    Though you call Anagarika Darmapala a “racist” if you have an aota of knowledge of the independence struggle and what role Anagarika played in that in reinstating the morale and the national pride of the Sinhalese,you wouldn’t have uttered such nonsense!

    Morale and national pride of the Sinhalese? Is that why when the minute a (white) tourist steps off the plane, he is treated like royalty? It’s actually quite extraordinary that the vast majority of Sinhalese were *united* when it came to choosing sides in the war – considering that they are pretty much disunited in regards to every other matter.

  • Heshan

    Burning_Issue,

    To me, whether God exists or not; whether the universe is created by a phenomenon of God is a personal matter. People have varied opinions and perceptions that they need to reconcile with their conscience. In the name of God many around the world committed evil crimes and thought nothing of it! It is precisely for these reasons; a state must elevate itself from any religious constraints. A state must view, analyse, judge and prosecute on the basis of absolute equality; it must govern with conscience that is based on secular humanism and nothing less and nothing more.

    Let me put it another way: it is impossible for large groups of people, let us say, groups numbering several million, to comprehend the minutest details of arcane, abstract philosophy. It is better to give them something simple that can be learned quickly, and at least the rudiments of which will not be easily forgotten. That is why I say Judeo-Christian morality has worked so well in the West, whereas Hinduism and Buddhism have, for the most part, only further perpetuated the dismal existence of myriad an Asian society. Even though you hand someone a text as extraordinary as Vedas, chances are they will never comprehend its full meaning. When it comes to morality, elegant philosophies are like icing on a cake. They only serve to hide the obvious, which is the cake itself.

    There is one more point I would make: that science cannot teach morality. Science can only teach rationality, which is based on truth, not faith. Truth is independent of any right or wrong clause, which is why science does not provide a valid basis for making value judgments. Our sense of morality -set of values – still comes from religion. So in this sense, it is difficult to get rid of religion altogether and replace it with a more rational methodology.

  • yapa

    Dear Heshan;

    Sorry, I could not respond to your post of

    The “Creator God” question does not boil down to a “chicken or egg” dilemna, as you propose, but to “nothing”, without any reservations. Somebody has an iota of knowledge of logic does not refuse it. I know that you know it, but also I know that you are pretending not to understand to protect your pride of competency in arguments, fear of being defeated in the forum. That is OK, we will not talk about this hereafter, I don’t want to embarrass you.

    ……..” As you can see, physics always assumes that a certain energy was here. It does not care how the energy was created. In fact, it is impossible to answer this question, “how did God A create God B, God B create God C, C create D, D create E… etc. The argument is circular. It is equivalent to asking, what is the biggest number (because I can simply add 1 to whatever number you give me). But you see that the existence of a number does not depend on whether or not there is a biggest number or a smallest number. In order to guage the properties of a number, it is necessary to specify what set the number belongs to – one is then able to understand certain characteristics of the number immediately, based on relations that apply to the set, without performing any calculations.
    The “Creator God” argument assumes that God is equivalent to the set of all sets. If the Universe is another set, then it is simply a subset of the God set.
    What is interesting is that even in mathematics, one does not ask how the universal set, U, was created. One simply takes it for granted. But one cannot deny that the universal set exists. After all, there is an empty set – e.g. a set with no elements, so its opposite, U, must exist. ……….”

    Above arguments support the “Avyakatha status” of Buddhism rather than supporting a god and it odes not support creator god at all against your aspirations.

    ………..”Actually, given that life and death is a 24/7 phenomenon of nature, it should be easy to prove whether reincarnation is true or not. The creation of the universe, however, was a one-time event. Nevertheless, one is able to verify that whatever energy created the universe still exists today. ……….”

    I don’t see any relevance of the above statements to the topic we are discussing.

    “………..Actually, there are many problems: for example, Buddha never denied the existence of God (so how can you say a soul is not necessary for rebirth). Also, Buddha did not explain what happens when rebirth is completed. And finally, Buddhist rebirth is a modified form of Hindu rebirth; it is difficult to say, on the basis of the modification alone, that the Buddhist rebirth idea is superior. Lack of originality presents certain difficulties………”

    Buddha vehemently denied the existence of “creator god”. There is no something call completion of rebirth. Who told you that Buddhist rebirth is a modified form of Hindu rebirth? What evidence do you have to say so? Who says Buddhist rebirth idea is superior because of a so called “modification”, we say on the basis of the characteristics of it. It is a original one, if you go deep in it and compare with the Buddhist rebirth theory, you will find that Hindu idea is a story fabricated by a grade five child.

    Thanks!

  • BalangodaMan

    Mr Yapa,

    “Will you please disprove the two doctrines of Buddhism I have mentioned”

    I thought my piece on ‘the sky is blue’ would suffice?

    (BTW you refer to me as ‘a scientist’. I am merely using common sense and general knowledge, and I am not a scientist by profession. General knowledge and rationality is not uncommon)

    Pancha Niyama Dharma (‘The Five Cosmic Orders’)
    ———————————————-
    This is essentially categorisation of observable human experience. Much like Part 2 of the Kama Sutra in which Mallanāga Vātsyāyana categorised forms of sexual union into groups. Such categorisation does not mean that the experience itself is invented by the categorisation or the person categorising. For example, you can categorise the animals in a zoo, as those with 4 legs, those with no legs, those that can fly etc. The animals existed long before the attempt to categorise them.

    It is nonsensical to ask science to ‘disproof the categorisation of animals in a zoo’ or indeed Part 2 of the Kama Sutra.

    Paticca Samuppada (‘Dependent Origination’)
    —————————————–
    Causes have effects.

    Again, this is observable experience that early beings must have had (don’t ask me for proof though). A caveman would have known that if he goes out to hunt he will have food for himself and his family. If he does not then he may not. Following from that, he at some point will have realised that in order to have food for his family today he would need to have gone out to hunt yesterday, and if he hasn’t food today it may be because he didn’t go out to hunt yesterday, or if he did he didn’t catch anything. The idea that ‘actions’ cause ‘results’ was known a long long time ago by prehistoric people. Long before humans came on the scene I expect. I think even animals know this.

    Again, it is nonsensical to ask scientists to ‘prove’ that ‘things cause other things’. Indeed, their aim is to find out ‘how’ causes and effects are related. To go back to the previous illustration, if Mallanāga Vātsyāyana claimed in Kama Sutra that ‘the position in Chapter 3 used immediately after the one in Chapter 7 practised regularly’ guarantees a more prestigious next birth or direct ascension to heaven, or elevation to becoming a god even, then that would be pure speculation and requiring ‘faith’ (meaning a belief held despite the non-availability of proof, usually because of ‘wanting or needing to believe’). And Mr Yapa, if you did not share that faith you would laugh at such a preposterous claim, wouldn’t you?

    So why are you surprised when those who do not share your faith find your beliefs to be unconvincing?

    Protestant Buddhism
    ——————-
    Mr Yapa, your writing perfectly exemplifies ‘Protestent Buddhism’ that began in the 1880s.

    Let me explain.

    By the late 1800s western colonisation of Ceylon had gathered great momentum. To counter this arose a movement which promoted ‘a brand’ based diametrically opposite to the threat (but interestingly, borrowing certain ideas from the threat itself, but that’s another story). This is now referred to as ‘Protestant Buddhism’ (Obeyesekere) to mean a brand promoted to ‘protest against the widespread Christianisation’ of the country.

    The point is, Protestant Buddhists affirm their identity, not by ‘being Buddhist in practice’ (developing love through mental conditioning, for example) but by showing their opposition to Christianity instead. This is done by a strong preoccupation to argue about the existence or not of a ‘creator god’, Adam and Eve and other facets of Christianity that readily appear to be absurd to rational people. (In other words, displaying a form of hatred rather than love)

    Ironically and arguably, the Buddhism we have today in SL (a devotional religion like Christianity, Islam, Hinduism) is more a version of Christianity but in a different colour, with much of Hinduism still intact. Which is why our Buddhist practice (‘practice’ as opposed to what we can read in the scriptures) has little Buddhism, buried among a lot of other non-Buddhist religious leanings (but with wide visibility of Buddhist icons and artefacts and quoting of passages etc).

    In ‘real’ Buddhism we would display greater concern for the tragic victims of this conflict. Peace and Reconciliation would be a piece of cake for us. It isn’t. Why? Any thoughts on this Mr Yapa?

  • wijayapala

    Prof Heshan

    I reserve the right to simply ignore any future post emanating from the said source, at my discretion.

    Thank you for admitting your inability to refute any of my points. The Mahavamsa stands vindicated.

    Although it is unfortunate that you no longer have the opportunity to learn from me, overall it does relieve me of the burden of having to correct your misperceptions of what I write. ;-)

    Best of luck and no hard feelings!

  • yapa

    Dear BalangodaWoman;

    You are running away from the topic acting as gone crazy. You did the same thing twice before to avoid answers. Please prove your heroic statement about one group classification of religions. Be frank. Accept that you cannot do it. Verbosity tactics won’t work everywhere M’am.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    THEORY OF EVERYTHING or SINGLE GROUP CLASSIFICATION THEORY- A Modern theory that would revolutionize the world by BalangodaWoman

    Classification is an old idea meant to separate things into different groups considering their similarities and differences. Now that a lady scientist, BalangodaWoman has found a new theory that every thing can be classified into one group. She gives following examples for the understanding of the general public, as the theory is so complicated to the understanding of average people.

    1. Religions have no differences. Therefore they can be classified as one group.

    2. There is no two things as west and east, west and east are one and the same.

    3. Tamils and Sinhalese are same. There is no difference. Therefore both of them can be classified in the same group.

    4. On the basis of (3) above kovil and temple are same.

    6. All men in the world are equal in all respects. They are classified in the same group.

    7.There is no difference between black and white, because black or white all men are equal. Therefore black and white colours should be classified in the same colour group.

    8. Me and women are same, and they can be classified within a same category in terms of (4) above.

    9. Iranians, Americans , Italians, Britisher, Australians and Canadians are same and use the same passport. They are classified in the same category.

    10. All the mothers are same. Therefore we are the children of a single mother.

    Therefore, people don’t have to quarrel over anything. On the basis of this theory peace will remain through out the universe forever.

    General public is invited to inform the honourable lady scientist that if anybody find something that cannot be classified within a single group so that she can make them similar. She also announces that this is the THEORY OF EVERYTHING which scientists were eagerly looking forward to formulate to describe the whole universe in a single formula.

    Are you convinced? No?

    What……! You don’t understand this simple theory?

    In a nutshell THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING means “EVERYTHING IS SAME . THERE IS NOTHING DIFFERENT IN THE WHOLE UNIVERSE.

    That is my universal principle. You don’t understand dud?

    We will have to wind up this programme at this moment due to unavoidable circumstances.

    Thanks!

  • Heshan

    Dear Yapa:

    Above arguments support the “Avyakatha status” of Buddhism rather than supporting a god and it odes not support creator god at all against your aspirations.

    Actually, Avyakatha is something else together. The argument I have made is that every system of logic has axioms , which, if you are not familiar with the term, refers to one or more unproved assumptions. This makes sense because if one tries to prove every proposition, he will end up in a so-called “vicious circle.” It is easy to see this with the “Creator God” question. If God A was created by God B, and God B was created by God C… etc. etc. It is much simpler to believe that only one God has actually existed, and that this God has always existed. Of course it is an axiom. But it is a necessary axiom if one wishes to avoid falling into the vicious circle trap.

    I don’t see any relevance of the above statements to the topic we are discussing.

    As I said, given the extremely rapid pace of death, it should be possible to “prove” that rebirth is “real.” If a 1000 people are dying every 1 minute, and 1000 people are being born every minute, at least one of the 1000 people should be able to remember something from his past life. Now, I said 1000 people every minute… that means 60000 people every 1 hr, and 1,440,000 people every day (these are underestimates). In scientific terms, this equates to a very observable phenomenon. So the natural question to ask is, why has this highly “observable” phenomenon not been verified? It takes only 1/1440000 persons to give a definitive proof of rebirth. Did you know that humans have existed for 200000 years. Please multiply 1440000 X 365 X 200000. That means that 10,512,000,000,000 rebirths have occurred since that time, yet not a single person has been able to definitely prove he/she existed in a past life. Wow! I know you are a fan of 100% probability factors, but it seems that the odds of rebirth actually occurring are rather astronomical. Well, you did say in this thread that you’re a fan of astronomy, so it might not be a problem for you.

    Buddha vehemently denied the existence of “creator god”.

    He neither denied nor affirmed it. Of course, if you wish, you can quote from Pali Canon to prove your point. Please give the exact reference.

    There is no something call completion of rebirth. Who told you that Buddhist rebirth is a modified form of Hindu rebirth? What evidence do you have to say so?

    It is funny how you try to make the claim that Buddhism is “original.” Buddha was a Hindu before he was a “Buddhist.” He would have been familiar with Vedas.
    You cannot dismiss the influence. If you learned how to add 298 + 398, it is because you first learned how to add 2+3, and then 20 + 30, and then 200+300. That is the relationship between Buddhism and Hinduism – if you take away all the modifications, Buddhism becomes Hinduism. Whether rebirth occurs without a soul is a modified form of saying rebirth occurs with a soul which is a modified form of saying rebirth simply occurs. But the Vedas were the first to say that rebirth occurs. So only Vedic Hinduism can make a claim to originality when it comes to rebirth. I can make a similar argument for other concepts in Buddhism.

  • Heshan

    Correction: 105,120,000,000,000 (one more 0 to add to Mr. Yapa’s astronomical odds)

  • longus

    Heshan

    You haven’t answered my question as to why there is a remarkable phonetic resemblence between the European languages and the North-Indian languages-and Sinhalese-, in your lenghty reply!

    If Anagarika motivated the Sinhalese to regain their lost land right which had been plundered by the Colonists, and subsequently staged a Buddhist revival,he is absolutely right! He branded the imitators of the White Master as “Kalu Suddas” and told the Sinhalese,”One day the White Man will leave us, but when he leaves he will breed many thousands of Kalu Suddas who will act like the White Master and undermine your culture, religion and the values”. You may well be one of the descendents of that clan ,going by your writings! The tourist guide or the hotel manager might treat the tourists like the ‘royalty’, as you say, but that happens anywhere in the world where tourism thrives, and people make a living out of it. As Anagarika’s movement was successful only that the Sinhalese masses started to give up their “thuppahi’ names;changed their parasitic mentality that the whiite man’s culture was superior;dream about independence from the British and ultimately revived the national movement. There were the people even at that time too, who were the products of Anglo-Saxan cultural invation who tried to shut him up and they were the ones who called him a racist. It’s a mistake the half educated imitators made, of mixing up anti-colonialism with racism.The grand uncle of the present leader of the opposition, who is hailed as a newspaper magnet of the time-of Times of Ceylon fame- is a case in point!

    Even now thanks to people like Anagarika we have rulers (as you too have admitted) who don’t treat the Western advocates like gods. That’s why Rajapakse didn’t listen to the peace merchants and stop the war (to the dismay of blokes like you!) and stoped the LTTE leadership from being saved for a future bargaining war!

  • longus

    Yapa

    Thank you for the thought provoking piece!

  • yapa

    Dear Heshan,

    You say (A:)”Actually, Avyakatha is something else together. The argument I have made is that every system of logic has axioms, which, if you are not familiar with the term, refers to one or more unproved assumptions. This makes sense because if one tries to prove every proposition, he will end up in a so-called “vicious circle.” It is easy to see this with the “Creator God” question. If God A was created by God B, and God B was created by God C… etc. etc. It is much simpler to believe that only one God has actually existed, and that this God has always existed. Of course it is an axiom. But it is a necessary axiom if one wishes to avoid falling into the vicious circle trap.”

    Answer (B): Really that is self is the problem. You who created this argument is making a situation for the creator god cannot exist. Don’t you notice it? If the answer is a creator god he traps in this circular logic and become null and void before he is born (created). This is like a situation of an “abortion”. Your axiom contradicts itself.

    I think Avyakatha is the only answer fitting here, showing the “perfection” of the answers of the Buddha. Just imagine, giving a (the) exactly fitting answer for the “First Axiom” of the world 2600years ago! It is worthwhile thinking about this marvelous fact alone to understand the value of Buddhism as a Philosophy.

    Personally, I have not come across many problems with the consistency of Buddhist philosophy. I am telling frankly this with some objectivity, not because of it is my religion alone. As a person of capability, I think you should not form a hostile attitude towards Buddhism, just because it is not presently your religious belief or you feel it is the religion of your hostile party. I have seen you have exhibited the capability to see things over the personal biases during the past discussions, objectively. Without arguing against it just because it is not your religion, a person with the capacity of yours should focus on objectivity, disregarding personal biases. You can do a better service to the world by using your analytical capabilities, focusing the attention to more objective things than arguing for your “personal cases” taking over the role of a “cunning lawyer”. I think you are wasting your energies to fabricate theories to defeat others. You should not be a lawyer or a politician, but a scientist.

    (A): As I said, given the extremely rapid pace of death, it should be possible to “prove” that rebirth is “real.” If a 1000 people are dying every 1 minute, and 1000 people are being born every minute, at least one of the 1000 people should be able to remember something from his past life…………………

    (B): This indicates your personal cleverness to make good arguments, but I should tell you, you cannot prove anything, especially to “me”. It is just a magnificent creation of yours, which will be very attractive / effective and work well with some people. You don’t prove any case here for me. To tell you frankly, there is no substance in it. It is an illusion created by the clever magician named Prof. Heshan, as Wijayapala is used to call you.

    (A): It is funny how you try to make the claim that Buddhism is “original.” Buddha was a Hindu before he was a “Buddhist.”………………………

    (B): Again do you really think you are making any case here. It is true that Prince Siddhartha learnt the philosophies prevailed then in Indian society. It may have given him some wisdom, I don’t deny it. But the “enlightenment” is something entirely different from the knowledge he gained through those philosophies. Really he abandoned all those views learnt from them as useless with regard to the goal he was expecting achieve and pursued in an entirely different path, that ie. “Middle Path” that had never been professed by any philosopher before. Are you going to say “Middle Path” or “Noble Eight Fold Path” was a creation of Hinduism?

    You should not argue with biases (with knowledge). It is below your dignity. Please use your energies for a nobler goal.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Addition….

    Sorry, I really thought I finished my answer.

    (A): He neither denied nor affirmed it. Of course, if you wish, you can quote from Pali Canon to prove your point. Please give the exact reference.

    (B): Not only he rejected that view, he gave the reasons and explained why people fall into that wrong “Ditti” (View). Please Google and read Agganna Sutta/Brahmajala Sutta.

    (A): It is funny how you try to make the claim that Buddhism is “original.” Buddha was a Hindu before he was a “Buddhist.”……………………

    (B): I think I have already given the answer for this. Your “Seppada Vijja” (foul magic) is not going to prove anything. They are only Seppada vijjas of Prof. Heshan to misguide people. You really know that I know my Mathematics. You are posting these “Mathemagic” to delight the people who appreciate your arguments.

    Be good.

    Thanks!

  • Belle

    Wijayapala,
    “So let me understand your train of logic: to support your argument that the Sinhalese are not politically quiescient, you are arguing that the Sinhalese did not protest against the LTTE?”

    That is your twisted logic, hampering you because you have come to a fixed conclusion that Sinhalese are politically quiescent. People may not protest at something for various other reasons than political quietism: perhaps they just don’t care about the cause; perhaps the realities of the situation such as the presence of a terrorist force make it impractical to do so. In this instance, I’m suggesting the cause is the latter rather than political acquiescence. To make the claim you do, you need to prove a whole national history of keeping quiet. What about the development of labour politics and the left-wing movement in your country—does that suggest political quietism to you?

    Political quietism is just your excuse to explain away an ethical lapse, i.e. a majority community not caring about fellow-citizens and justice for minorities.

    “Why didn’t they do that for the EPDP’s celebration of Pooneryn?”

    Seems you didn’t read the earlier Tamilnet story where they claim that Pooneryn didn’t fall to the SLA but that the LTTE had “relocated” Pooneryn! The more fool you expecting logic and rational action from the LTTE.

    “I guess I can’t, but despite that there seems to be people here who insist that Sinhalese and Tamils are utterly alien to each other.”

    I’m not claiming that they’re utterly alien to each other. Which doesn’t mean that they’re exactly the same either.

    “Huh?”
    I explained the link between the analogy I provided and the situation we were discussing. Strangely, you cut away that explanation in your citing of my post.

    “Ok. Then how come the SL Tamils did not come out for demonstrations against the LTTE?”

    Whether they lived in the north or in the south, SL Tamils as individuals from a besieged minority community have not had the luxury of having a political will, sandwiched between the LTTE on one side and Sinhalese chauvinist governments on the other. Nor do they have any now. Why did SL Tamils in Colombo not come out to celebrate the demise of the LTTE? Was it because they did not like the outcome or because they were cowering in fear of violence and humiliation from the Sinhala nationalists? You expect a minority community deprived of rights to come out and protest against harm being done to the majority community who are their oppressors?

    Perhaps if they had ever felt included and welcomed in the nation, SL Tamils might have demonstrated against LTTE anti-Sinhalese violence.

    Your attempt to equate a besieged minority community’s failure to demonstrate against terrorists in war time with a triumphant majority community’s failure to demonstrate against unjust treatment of innocent minority civilians during peacetime reveals your mindset. When even educated people like yourself think like this, is it any wonder that SL Tamils have been huddling among themselves all these years?

  • yapa

    “It’s always nice to have someone write long-winded paeans in my name, no matter how perverted the logic employed. Your filibustering and ad-hominem arguments are as usual, orthogonal to the point, but fascinatingly enjoyable. It’s long been a battle to decide who amongst the posters on this forum is the most merciless at brutalizing logic and reason. Have no fear, you seem to be in the lead at the moment. Please keep em coming!”

    It is because I don’t like “Baba Kukkun”. I like only Kukkun Babas”.

    Thanks!

  • BalangodaMan

    Mr Yapa, you are falling into a common trap of mistaken logic.

    Here’s the short answer.

    A chair has 4 legs. A dog has 4 legs. For the functional purpose of ‘supporting its own weight’ the 4 legs in both cases do the same job. Therefore, in THAT CONTEXT (ie. functional purpose), the two are the same. On the other hand, if the context is ‘how fast it can run’ then obviously the two are not the same. If we stick withing the context of the point being made the similarities mentioned are (you will find) important ones to take into account.

    Therefore, applied to the list you very kindly provided:

    1. Religions have no differences. Therefore they can be classified as one group.

    Yes. In all communities religion serves the same purpose(s). It’s like, ‘food’ serves the purpose of solving the need of ‘hunger’. In ancient Spain they had that need (they made paella). In ancient India they had the same need (they made curry). They satisfied the need with local ingredients that they had available to them at the time. The need for religion was the same. The early Christians solved it with their local ingredients (Judaism + Jesus), the early Buddhists solved the same need with their local ingredients (Hinduism + Buddha). To say that ‘all religions serve the same purpose’ I base this on this observation – I have never come across a Christian believer, or a Muslim believer, who is less satisfied with their religions than a Buddhist believer is with his or hers.

    Of course, all those who wish to differentiate their religion from others (another one of those purposes) attempt to describe them as something other than a religion – a law, a relationship with god, a philosophy, a way of life etc. While the detail is different (again) the purpose is the same.

    2. There is no two things as west and east, west and east are one and the same.

    Yes. In many ways true. You have not stated the context from which you have pulled this out.

    The west is enormously enriched by eastern culture, food, the arts, language – and the east similarly enriched by the same, and technology and the progress of some aspects of civilisation such as justice, administration, sport. Geographically the two are in different parts of the world, permanently. Globalisation brings the two together economically and culturally for the benefit of everyone, the whole world, including you or you would not be participating in a forum in the English language.

    3. Tamils and Sinhalese are same. There is no difference. Therefore both of them can be classified in the same group.

    Yes. For the purposes in which you want to drive a wedge they are the same. The differences are language and culture. Language and culture do not make one ethnic group ‘lesser’ than another. The same group for classification of the Sinhalese and the Tamil in SL is ‘Sri Lankan’.

    The recipe for future harmony in SL is to acknowledge the commonalities and enjoy the differences. However, I realise that a few Sinhalese (such as you Mr Yapa) and a few Tamils would prefer a divisive alternative. I suggest a separate geographical location for such people, a small island off SL should do. The rest of us can enjoy the ‘one-ness’ while you guys can argue amongst yourself as to who is better, away from us. But … oh dear, you in that small island will have something in common after all, ie. the divisive viewpoint! I wonder whether you will come together on the basis that you share a common need to promote yourselves as different? LOL!

    4. On the basis of (3) above kovil and temple are same.

    Yes. They serve the same purpose. Mainly superstition, but also as a place of worship, often worshiping the same deities.

    6. All men in the world are equal in all respects. They are classified in the same group.

    All men and women have equal value in the world. This is a fundamental principle in the modern world. It’s centuries since slavery stopped being condoned on the basis that some races are sub-human. Only in some under-developed civilisations do they still regard some people as ‘lower’ by birth. The caste system is an example. This is an antiquated practice. Even Buddha spoke out against it all those years ago. Not sure why you are against it. (also ‘equal human value’ is a challenge against the doctrine of karma that implies that people are not born equal).

    7.There is no difference between black and white, because black or white all men are equal. Therefore black and white colours should be classified in the same colour group.

    Not sure what you mean by this. Yes, to illustrate the principle I mentioned at the beginnning of this piece, if the context is ‘colour’ then black and white are the same (they describe colour, and not one being a fruit, for example) and different by being different colours, or that one can argue that black is not a colour. If you are trying to show that there is a concept known as ‘different’ I think you will find most people know that there is such a thing (?). I suspect you do too.

    8. Men and women are same, and they can be classified within a same category in terms of (4) above.

    Again, it depends on context. Should they have equal pay for equal work? Yes, in my view. Do they dress differently? Mostly, no! Should different laws apply to them? No (though I understand there are descrepancies in SL under marital laws. I could be wrong though)

    9. Iranians, Americans , Italians, Britisher, Australians and Canadians are same and use the same passport. They are classified in the same category.

    Not sure where you got this. I think you are still stuck in that ‘aryan myth’ groove. Passports deal with Nationality, not under which god, star or myth he bases his identity.

    10. All the mothers are same. Therefore we are the children of a single mother.

    Actually, funny you should question that! The Human Genome Project announced in 1988 that every human being on Earth carries the genetic marker that traces us back to a woman who lived in Africa 150-200,000 years ago. Is that your objection? If so you should take it up with the Human Genome Project.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitochondrial_Eve

    Still Protestant Buddhism!
    —————————-
    In your exchanges with Heshan, Mr Yapa, you are still arguing on the lines that your ‘opposition to Christanity’ automatically makes you a Buddhist. This is quite wrong. A Buddhist is someone who has developed skills such as loving kindness following the teachings of the Buddha. Actually, personally, even if loving kindness is developed by some other means it is still useful to society and the world – I don’t think a proper Buddist will object to a person displaying such personal qualities even if they happen not to be ‘Buddhist’ or share the faith.

    In that respect I feel Heshan is more a Buddhist than you are. He appears to have benefited more from the teachings of the Buddha (regardless of what his actual influence was). This I conclude from comparing your writing to his.

  • yapa

    Dear BalangodaWman;

    I know that you like Heshan more than me. I also like Heshan more than you. He is a man with “Kusala Kamma” (competencies) unlike you, though he is a Christian.

    However, I think you have an urgent matter to resolve, to put off your lady garments, and wear a jean and a shirt. Why aren’t you taking some initiative in that respect.

    You know what you have to do no? Answer those questions.

    By the way, don’t you like to read the “Dhammapadaya” when you have some leisure time? It will help you to dilute that cynical mentality a bit. Try it.

    Thanks Maam !

  • yapa

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitochondrial%20Eve

    This shows how even western Science is even entangled by Judeo-Christian Tradition. Scientists even try to substantiate the mythical Adam- Eva story.

    People like BalangodaWomen should protest against such things as Religions should be kept separated from other things. Objective Science has been raped by subjective religions.

    Why are you silent objective lady scientist?

    Take stern action Maam!

    Thanks!

  • Heshan

    Dear Yapa:

    Answer (B): Really that is self is the problem. You who created this argument is making a situation for the creator god cannot exist. Don’t you notice it? If the answer is a creator god he traps in this circular logic and become null and void before he is born (created). This is like a situation of an “abortion”. Your axiom contradicts itself.

    There are two different issues. I think you are confusing them. The first issue is did God create the Universe. The second issue is who created God. Your argument that God did not create the Universe, because God does not exist in the first place, is rather clever. The problem is that you have not explained how the Universe created itself. Maybe the ingredients were there, but how did the ingredients combine in the correct proportion? If you have flour, yeast, and water, is it bread? It is not bread until you mix and bake. What you are really doing is performing work and transferring energy. It is the same way with the Universe. The Big Bang Theory tells us all the ingredients were there. But without a transformation of energy, these ingredients could not become the Universe. When you ask, who created God, you are asking, who created the singular energy that made possible the Big Bang? The most reasonable answer is to state that this energy always existed. It is the most basic law of physics, that the amount of energy is always constant. So if you assumed that God B was created by God A, you are still not accounting for the creation of the energy that created God B and God A in the first place. Let me summarize for you: if you accept that the only constant in the Universe is energy, and you accept that God is energy, then it is not difficult to conclude that God has always existed. Then the question of who created God becomes irrelevant.

    I think Avyakatha is the only answer fitting here, showing the “perfection” of the answers of the Buddha. Just imagine, giving a (the) exactly fitting answer for the “First Axiom” of the world 2600years ago! It is worthwhile thinking about this marvelous fact alone to understand the value of Buddhism as a Philosophy.

    Avyakatha does not answer the question – it avoids the question. Either the Buddha did not know the answer, or else he felt that the answer was not very important.

    Personally, I have not come across many problems with the consistency of Buddhist philosophy. I am telling frankly this with some objectivity, not because of it is my religion alone. As a person of capability, I think you should not form a hostile attitude towards Buddhism, just because it is not presently your religious belief or you feel it is the religion of your hostile party.

    I am not sure how u define consistency. Consider that there are many versions of Buddhism. Most of them – over 95% – believe in a God or Gods, e.g. Hinayana, Mahayana, Tantric, etc. It seems as if only Theravada Buddhism makes this claim to being atheist. So in order to prove “consistency”, you will have to show that Theravada Buddhism is “superior” to all other forms of Buddhism. You will have to show that Theravada Buddhism is the “true” Buddhism.

    I have seen you have exhibited the capability to see things over the personal biases during the past discussions, objectively. Without arguing against it just because it is not your religion, a person with the capacity of yours should focus on objectivity, disregarding personal biases.

    Actually, I am asking common sense questions. You say that God can’t be energy, yet you have no explanation for how energy was created in the first place. You cannot prove that energy never existed. In fact, when you accept that you cannot prove that energy never existed, and then you ask who created God, you are actually contradicting yourself, because you have to failed to show that God and energy are mutually exclusive.

    (B): This indicates your personal cleverness to make good arguments, but I should tell you, you cannot prove anything, especially to “me”. It is just a magnificent creation of yours, which will be very attractive / effective and work well with some people. You don’t prove any case here for me. To tell you frankly, there is no substance in it. It is an illusion created by the clever magician named Prof. Heshan, as Wijayapala is used to call you.

    It is not an illusion. According to you, Buddhism is even more sophisticated than science. Yet Buddhism does not have the tools to prove the existence of this phenomenon of “rebirth”, which as I have demonstrated, occurs more than one million times a day. It reminds me of a child learning arithmetic. After making the obvious errors, 1+1 = 4, 1+8 = 10, 3+5 = 6, etc. he will come up with the right solution eventually – because there is a method to it. With reincarnation/rebirth, the believer must forever guess. But he will never know for sure, because there is no logical method to even prove the process occurs. In science, if you cannot prove directly, then you must prove indirectly. You cannot simply keep guessing like a madman. Guessing is not rational. It works sometimes (e.g. lottery) but it is not rational . People who believe in reincarnation are similar to those who play the lottery. I have given the odds for reincarnation in my earlier post.


    (B): Again do you really think you are making any case here. It is true that Prince Siddhartha learnt the philosophies prevailed then in Indian society. It may have given him some wisdom, I don’t deny it. But the “enlightenment” is something entirely different from the knowledge he gained through those philosophies.

    Really he abandoned all those views learnt from them as useless with regard to the goal he was expecting achieve and pursued in an entirely different path, that ie. “Middle Path” that had never been professed by any philosopher before. Are you going to say “Middle Path” or “Noble Eight Fold Path” was a creation of Hinduism?

    Actually you find the “Middle Path” , “Noble Eight Fold Path”, and all other paths in Hinduism/Jainism, etc. Do you think Buddha was the first to come up with ahimsa? A Jain will cover his face in order to avoid harm to any insects in the air, if necessary. What Buddha did is cut down on the number of rules. That was his primary issue with Brahmanic Hinduism anyway; he did not like the number of rituals. BalangodaMan has already shown in detail how most religions are the same, at a basic level, when you take away the decoration.

    By the way, you did not answer my earlier claim: I stated that Buddha never denied the existence of God. I asked you to give a direct quotation from Pali Canon, if you disagree, not a web link. Are you capable? Thanks.

  • yapa

    All western knowledge developed till 20th century is the illegitimate child born after the Greek Tradition was raped by Judo-Christian Tradition. You can see the the signs even in the so called objective Science. Anybody can imagine the plight of other subjects like Political Science, our pandiths are used to preach to us as universal truths to plant in our countries. They cannot see the strings attach to them.

    However, we can see to a certain extent that Modern Science is taking a path towards a bit more objectivity. That is why these western parasites just born in our countries and living abroad, don’t like to see the change of the course of Science. They don’t like other traditions to come into the front. However, it should be noted that with the rise of Asia, the hegemony of west over everything including knowledge system will change. Already the Europe is in that merciful flight. Soon Asia will be the economic as well as knowledge and cultural centers of the world as a couple of thousand years back. Then the rest of the countries will come with their begging bowls to Asia to learn “Modern Culture”.

    However, one of the main problems that will arise against in this course is whether the western powers will let that peaceful transition happen. They didn’t let the riches of middle east oil to take over the hegemony. They even intervened with force in addition to their foul tactics, as shown in the book ” Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” written by John Perkins.

    We will have to wait and see. However, there is no doubt that the western powers and their henchmen don’t like the trend looming over their heads.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear Heshan;

    You say (A): There are two different issues. I think you are confusing them. The first issue is did God create the Universe. The second issue is who created God. Your argument that God did not create the Universe, because God does not exist in the first place, is rather clever. The problem is that you have not explained how the Universe created itself. Maybe the ingredients were there, but how did the ingredients combine in the correct proportion? If you have flour, yeast, and water, is it bread? It is not bread until you mix and bake…………….

    Answer (B): Do you want to bake the universe?

    That is a very naive and popular argument put forward by many as evidence of creation that is the “necessity of a doer to happen things”. What is the necessity for anybody to come to those unwarranted conclusions? Why things cannot happen without the inter-mediation of a “doer” especially of the sort of the creator god mention in the Bible, who has a “consciousness”?

    Dear Heshan, Things happens in the nature without the intervention of a consciousness. Look around, almost all non- living processes in the nature takes place without such intervention. Rains, storms, waves on the sea surface, blooming of flowers take place without the necessity of somebody with a consciousness. So called “Creation” at least the first part of it is an inanimate thing. That does not need an intervention of an “animate god”.

    You don’t have to bake cakes to fill you tummy, you can pick some berries which nature gives you even without asking for your labour.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    Further, Big Bang theory still is a theory and no one is sure it represents the ultimate truth about the origin of the universe.

    Why do you say energy always existed and present universe sprang out from it. What if I say the universe always existed instead? Rationally there is no difference. Why do you prefer the first over the second? What is the rational need for such a random event to take place? One can very well argue that universe always existed in the present form. What is that big idea to put that “innocent creator god” into this mess? He must be cursing you if he really exists.

    * * * * * * * * * * *

    OK, say for instance your notion that energy exited always and the universe came into being later as an action of a “person” with consciousness. Then what is the mighty necessity this person to be that “no one seen god”. Don’t you prefer to think this is a job of that “gossiping woman from Balangoda area”, that is a job of a readily available “frog”? Or it can better be attributed to a cockroach, because it has been living in the universe, from a far away point of time.

    * * * * * * * * * * *

    Dear Heshan, Who told you that the only constant in the Universe is energy? It was a myth spread by the outdated Classical Newtonian Science. I think you know about very famous Einstein’s equation, relating energy to mass.

    According to this, energy can exist in the form of matter. Didn’t you put your thought to this before?

    * * * * * * * * * * * *

    So now do you think there exist a necessity of a “Creator God” for the existence of the universe?

    Very clearly the universe can exist without the necessity of a “Creator God”.

    CREATOR GOD IS AN UNNECESSARY or REDUNDANT CONCEPT.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    Now, we will come to the Avyakatha status.

    Avyakatha has no reference to say whether the universe was always existed or sprang into existence later. What it simply says is that “human mind is incapable of grasping that deep history of time or “It is a too big piece to bite”.

    Is there anything contradictory, when we say there is things that human mind cannot grasp?

    Not at all, Can you remember in a discussion some times ago I gave several examples of very simple things that human mind cannot grasp? Can you remember I was talking about the upstream journey of a Salmon fish to its birth place in the river to lay its eggs? How does that knowledge is possible by that “limbless creature”, but not by the humans with “big heads”? Unless you become a Salmon, you have no way to access for that knowledge
    .

    * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    (A): Avyakatha does not answer the question – it avoids the question. Either the Buddha did not know the answer, or else he felt that the answer was not very important.

    (B): So you say Avyakatha is an indication that “Buddha has no knowledge of something? Not at all, but the opposite.

    The Buddha’s knowledge that the origin of the universe cannot be grasped by average humans is the real knowledge about the phenomena. Really, no one before him did not know that it cannot be perceived. Buddha was the first person to know that it is not perceivable and therefore advised the disciples not to contemplate on this futile act, instead advised to look into the liberation from the Dangerous “Samsara”.

    Here, “Not knowing is knowing!” You got my point?

    Remain for the moment, will continue soon.

    Thanks!

  • BalangodaMan

    Mr Yapa and Heshan,

    The question of whether the Universe always existed or not, or whether a greator god had anything to do with the Universe, (sadly) will not change one iota whether (or how) we can bring Peace and Reconciliation to Sri Lanka.

    Mr Yapa,

    It is futile to question the faith of another person. All one can do is question/challenge the beliefs that WE OURSELVES (individually) hold, has held for a long time without challenge thus far. Indeed we should always challenge ourselves. But challenging the faith of another is, well, up to them.

    The reason is quite simple. Other people’s faith originates for the same reason that yours originated. Their’s can be as strong as yours. Evidently, they are well served by theirs and most see no reason to change it or abandon it. It’s purpose is personal to them (Mr Yapa, like yours gives you ‘ethnic identity and consequent emotional security through belonging to a group’).

    I am allowed to legitimately review and challenge the ‘truths’ I was taught in my Buddhist environment. I take on board what I find to be useful to me, and reject what is not, express concerns on certain aspects where that is needed. I have no basis on which to do that with Christianity, Islam, Hinduism – except to note that they too have similar concepts by other names (as I continue to mention on this forum).

    On the question of ‘what is the meaning of life’ the conclusion I came to is … we simply do not know. We cannot know. Therefore, I am what’s called ‘agnostic’.

    When people of different faiths challenge aspects of each other’s faith it is like my cat and my neighbour’s dog discussing … my job. When you ask silly things like ‘who created god, and who created god’s god’ it is like the cat and the dog discussing how I got my job, and how my boss got his, and what we do in our jobs. All I can say is, my cat may be curious, and he seems quite clever … but not THAT clever!

    Where my cat is cleverer than you Mr Yapa is … he knows that he can live happily, and in perfect harmony with my neighbour’s dog, without knowing what I do professionally, my name or anything else about me for that matter.

    On the question of ‘Avyakatha’, your argument is like the cat saying he knows everything there is to know because some other cat who lived thousands of years ago knew everything there is to know as a result of miraculously becoming omniscient, but did not reveal much of it because other cats will not understand it. My cat is putting forward that argument about an ancient cat despite a distinct lack of examples in the present day of cats becoming omniscient. Go figure!

  • yapa

    Continuation…………

    Dear Heshan;

    (A): I am not sure how u define consistency. Consider that there are many versions of Buddhism. Most of them – over 95% – believe in a God or Gods, e.g. Hinayana, Mahayana, Tantric, etc. It seems as if only Theravada Buddhism makes this claim to being atheist. So in order to prove “consistency”, you will have to show that Theravada Buddhism is “superior” to all other forms of Buddhism. You will have to show that Theravada Buddhism is the “true” Buddhism.

    (B): My consistency has the same meaning the word literally has, there is no deviation at all. Really, what has happened here was you have taken rituals of the various people as Buddhism. Just because some people perform rituals in the name of Buddhism, they do not become Buddhism. What I really mean as any sensible man would do is taking the Buddhist doctrine or Buddhist Philosophy as Buddhism. I am talking about the consistency of the Buddhist doctrine.

    There may be some differences in various versions of Buddhism found in various parts of the world; however, core doctrines are still common to all according to my understanding. It is natural the doctrine getting changes with the so much of time passed after it was preached and mingling with the traditions of the various parts of the world. However, though I don’t say it is superior, it is reasonable to accept that the Theravada is more original than others as it was turned to written form much earlier than other versions. However, I do not say that it has not changed at all. With several interpretations, of the later scholars and due to the colonial influence against Buddhism, it also have got some changes. That is why the contribution of the able scholars is needed to take out the correct portion from this valuable doctrine, which will be a treasure to the future generation of the word.

    Anyway, I have studied only a few doctrines of Buddhism, in them I have not found contradictions. For the moment I can say that it agrees with the “First Principle”. For instance you can take Dhammapadaya and see whether there are any contradictions among the ideas in 423 stanzas. This is an example for the consistency of the Buddhist doctrine. Can you find such consistency in any part of the teaching of any other religion?

    (A): Actually, I am asking common sense questions. You say that God can’t be energy, yet you have no explanation for how energy was created in the first place. You cannot prove that energy never existed. In fact, when you accept that you cannot prove that energy never existed, and then you ask who created God, you are actually contradicting yourself, because you have to failed to show that God and energy are mutually exclusive.

    (B): You even cannot prove that energy existed for ever, that is just speculation. Neither can you prove that the whole universe never existed for an unknown period of time. This again shows that Avyakatha is the best fitting answer, in terms of rational thinking.

    Further, I never asked who created god. I don’t want that argument to disprove Creator God. My arguments given earlier suffice. Even if it is not so, how come the “Creator God” cannot face the “Averroes’ Magic Stone”. No, he has no escape. Therefore I don’t have to show that God and energy are mutually exclusive.

    (A): It is not an illusion. According to you, Buddhism is even more sophisticated than science. Yet Buddhism does not have the tools to prove the existence of this phenomenon of “rebirth”, which as I have demonstrated, occurs more than one million times a day. It reminds me of a child learning arithmetic……………..

    (B): Only popular snag anybody can show against “Rebirth” is the inability of its proof through empirical studies. This situation itself does not disprove the existence of rebirth, even in principle. Besides there are some credible empirical studies carried out the people like Dr. Stevenson. How do you explain Edgar Casey?

    Other than the suspicion created on the basis of above there is no any other deficiency found in the theory.

    There is a real need for such theory, as I have pointed out earlier, and also if somebody goes in to the details of the theory, based on Paticca Samuppada and Pancha Niyama Dharma, you can see the real consistency of it, even finer than a modern scientific theory. People like that gossiping woman, protest against it catching hold of that simple fact, throwing away the massive amount of points in favour of it. If you have time please go through it in detail and tell me any inconsistency in it if you come across. The problem is there are no much people who have thoroughly studied it. To day people are leaning subjects that are marketable. Unfortunately they do not have much literary interest.

    You don’t have to guess on reincarnation if you thoroughly study the theory of it. You will never simply reject it, just as that B/Woman and the accomplices. For them lack of knowledge is their advantage.

    (A): Actually you find the “Middle Path”, “Noble Eight Fold Path”, and all other paths in Hinduism/Jainism, etc. Do you think Buddha was the first to come up with ahimsa?

    (B): You say the Middle Path or Noble Eight Fold Path was their in any other religion? Not at all, May be those words are found in them, but not the substance, the doctrine. One may call stone a coconut, but it does not have the creamy kernel inside. Buddha is the first person to show the Eight Fold Path, which paved the way to real enlightenment.

    I have no problem with other good concepts like Ahimsa. Even the five percepts were there when the Buddha was born in India in other religions. It is true that Buddha allowed good virtues in other religions to follow by his disciples. However, it does not say that whole Buddhism is a copy cat of other religions as you are going to suggest.

    (A): By the way, you did not answer my earlier claim: I stated that Buddha never denied the existence of God. I asked you to give a direct quotation from Pali Canon, if you disagree, not a web link. Are you capable? Thanks.

    (B): Really Heshan, I have no knowledge of Pali. However, the original English Translations you many find in the net. Read the original translations of Agganna Sutta/ Brahmajala Sutta. It is not a difficult task to find the original. If you cannot find tell me again, I will do it for you. However, I know that you are better at seaching the web.

    Thanks!

  • longus

    Heshan

    As for your childish curiority as to how the universe began without a creator is answered by me in my post on 03-09-2010 at 8.45pm. If you don’t want to believe “longus” you can read the world renowned physicict Steven Hawkin’s latest book “The Grand Design” which was out on last week in London. You can go to the “Times” newspaper of London on 02-09-2010 and read the excerpts of it.

    Ignoramuses like yourself are advised to educate yourself before writing about “more complex things”, becasue you seem to be believing what you learnt in grade 12 as “conservation of energy” applies to the conditions at the start of the universe.

    The recent theories on the origin of the universe comes closer to the “Buddhist Theory”-in both Hinayana and Mahayana- that there is no beginning to the many cycles of expantion and contraction of the universe, and what we see as the “beginning” in really the end stage of a previous cycle (even if the universe goes on expanding this applies too)

  • BalangodaMan

    A (completely off-topic) academic exploration of god
    ——————————-
    It would take a certain degree of arrogance to conclude that humans on Earth are the highest form of existence in the Universe, or that the physical Universe is the sum total of all that exists, that all of existence exists only on one ‘plane’. It would take a further leap of reasoning to conclude that the limits of knowledge and power of such (superior) entities is confined to the boundary of what humans can comprehend and visualise.

    For this reason, denying the existence of ‘god’ is unreasonable. All we can say is that, as humans, we have no idea what ‘god’ is, in form, in function, in concept.

    However, ‘faith’ is subjective, so ‘god’ can be anything that suits you. It does not have to orignate from any particular religious tradition.

    Stephen Hawkin is putting right a little carelessness in the closing words of his famous book ‘A Brief History of Time’ – which gave room for believers in god to claim a kind of ‘quantum physics backing’ for the god brigade (same as Mr Yapa from the KRN brigade was claiming for karma, rebirth and nirvana on the other thread).

    Longus,

    “The recent theories on the origin of the universe comes closer to the “Buddhist Theory” ”

    And how did this theory arise? What observations, what measurements? Could anyone repeat the process by which the theory was tested? Can we see it?
    If the answer to those is ‘no’ then either the theory is a fluke, or we are trying to fit what we now know to what we want to believe, don’t you think? (a la Nostradamus)

    A question for all is, why do we expect ancient theories to have foretold present day discoveries?

    And why is it that every time it is the discovery of a hero from our own history? It is never anyone from some other history, particularly not from a group that we are not too fond of!

    (religion never sought to, never had the capacity to, reveal an absolute truth. It’s purposes were, among other things, to provide comfort to people faced with the unknown/unknowable in ancient times. It is our subsequent need for validation against ‘others’ that had brought about this ‘our god is better than your god’ pattern. If the Buddha expected his words to be construed as some absolute truth about reality (forever uncontestable) he would have ensured that such a theory would withstand scrutiny … forever. He would have written it down, included his reasoning so that people in the future can understand it (to the level of scrutiny we in our times would expect, and for millennia to come), and he would have provided the evidence that he had. The Buddha would have known that other ‘peoples’ of the world will have their own religions to which they are entitled to, equally. He never wrote it down, nor put forward anything as a direct confrontation. Ever wondered why?)

  • longus

    BalangodaMan

    That’s why they are called “theories”, man. If a theory continuously agrees with the observations it is generally accepted as true. There are many such theories regarding the origin of the universe. Some are awaiting experimental evidence even at this moment as the “Massive Hedron Collider” is in operation now.

    “Theory of evolution”, “Newton’s theory of gravity”, “theory of relativity”, “global migration theory”, “big bang theory” and “quantum theory” are some of the examples of other well known theories. Are any of these “reproducible” in the sense that you state? All those must be “jokes” or “flukes”!

    As Yapa tells “little learning is dangerous”!

  • Heshan

    Dear Yapa:

    You did a stunning job of completely avoiding my questions. Please read all of the following carefully:

    As scholar Richard Hayes describes, “the attitude of the Buddha as portrayed in the Nikayas is more anti-speculative than specifically atheistic,” although “Gotama regarded the belief in God as unhealthy.”[20]

    As Hayes describes it, “In the Nikaya literature, the question of the existence of God is treated primarily from either an epistemological point of view or a moral point of view. As a problem of epistemology, the question of God’s existence amounts to a discussion of whether or not a religious seeker can be certain that there is a greatest good and that therefore his efforts to realize a greatest good will not be a pointless struggle towards an unrealistic goal. And as a problem in morality, the question amounts to a discussion of whether man himself is ultimately responsible for all the displeasure that he feels or whether there exists a superior being who inflicts displeasure upon man whether he deserves it or not . . . the Buddha Gotama is portrayed not as an atheist who claims to be able to prove God’s nonexistence, but rather as a skeptic with respect to other teachers’ claims to be able to lead their disciples to the highest good.”[21]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_in_Buddhism

    Mr. Yapa, I made the exact same point: that Buddha was not an atheist or a believer but an agnostic. However, you made the totally false claim that Buddha denied the existence of God. When I asked you to prove your claim, with an exact reference, you gave some vague references to sutras. I am now forced to believe that in fact you lack any knowledge of Buddhism outside of Sinhala-Buddhism, which as BalangodaMan has done an excellent job of pointing out, is a distorted version of real Buddhism anyway. However, I would be interested in knowing who told you that Buddha was an atheist. Did you just make it up, or is that what you were taught by the monks?

    Now, it is worth seeing just how much Buddhists believe in God:

    Brahma in the Pali Canon

    Brahma is among the common gods found in the Pali Canon. Brahma (in common with all other devas) is subject to change, final decline and death, just as are all other sentient beings in samsara (the plane of continual reincarnation and suffering). In fact there are several different Brahma worlds and several kinds of Brahmas in Buddhism, all of which however are just beings stuck in samsara for a long while.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_in_Buddhism

    Mr. Yapa, if gods and devas do not exist, will Pali Canon mention them? Is it logically possible to mention something that does not exist? Actually, there is one way: the correct word is myth. If you accept that Pali Canon is full of myth, only then we can say that the gods and devas in Pali Canon do not exist.

    Other common gods referred to in the Canon

    Many of the other gods in the Pali Canon find a common mythological role in Hindu literature. Some common gods and goddesses are Indra, Aapo (Varuna), Vayo (Vayu), Tejo (Agni), Surya, Pajapati (Prajapati), Soma, Yasa, Venhu (Visnu), Mahadeva (Siva), Vijja (Saraswati), Usha, Pathavi (Prithvi) Sri (Lakshmi) Kuvera (Kubera), several yakkhas (Yakshas), gandhabbas (Gandharvas), Nāgas, garula (Garuda), sons of Bali, Veroca, etc.[24] While in Hindu texts some of these gods and goddesses are considered embodiments of the Supreme Being. The Buddhist view was that all gods and goddesses were bound to samsara. The world of gods according to the Buddha presents a being with too many pleasures and distractions.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_in_Buddhism

    Mr. Yapa, did I not inform you that Hinduism is the mother and Buddhism is the child? Even your precious Pali Canon is not free of the Hindu influence. What is this world of gods that Buddha talked about, Mr. Yapa? Did your monks not teach you at the pansal? On this forum you have denied that gods existed… yet in the Pali Canon, Buddha himself talks about an entire world of gods? Mr. Yapa, either you are very misinformed, or we are having quite a serious communication problem.

    Mr. Yapa, please stay in your chair, as the fun has just started:

    Mahayana Buddhism includes a sphere of devotion, where the Buddha is taken as the Supreme Reality – a kind of God who assumed human form in order to benefit all humanity[29]:
    “ Mahayana Buddhism is not only intellectual, but it is also devotional … in Mahayana, Buddha was taken as God, as Supreme Reality itself that descended on the earth in human form for the good of mankind. The concept of Buddha (as equal to God in theistic systems) was never as a creator but as Divine Love that out of compassion (karuna) embodied itself in human form to uplift suffering humanity. He was worshipped with fervent devotion… He represents the Absolute (paramartha satya), devoid of all plurality (sarva-prapancanta-vinirmukta) and has no beginning, middle and end … Buddha … is eternal, immutable … As such He represents Dharmakaya. ”

    According to the Tathagatagarbha sutras, the Buddha taught the existence of a spiritual essence called the tathagagatagarbha or Buddha-nature, which is present in all beings and phenomena.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_in_Buddhism

    Really, Mr. Yapa… no beginning, middle and end? Sounds like another chap I know… his name has three letters. : )

  • yapa

    “(religion never sought to, never had the capacity to, reveal an absolute truth.”

    Just like you madam?

    Thanks!

  • Heshan

    Enlightenment of Yapa (Part II):

    Vajrayana views

    In some Mahayana traditions, the Buddha is indeed worshiped as a virtual divinity who is possessed of supernatural qualities and powers. Dr. Guang Xing writes: “The Buddha worshiped by Mahayanist followers is an omnipotent divinity endowed with numerous supernatural attributes and qualities …[He] is described almost as an omnipotent and almighty godhead.”[31].


    Zen and the Absolute

    A further name for the irreducible, time-and-space-transcending mysterious Truth or Essence of Buddhic Reality spoken of in some Mahayana and tantric texts is the Dharmakaya (Body of Truth). Of this the Zen Buddhist master Sokei-An, says:[38]

    … dharmakaya [is] the equivalent of God … The Buddha also speaks of no time and no space, where if I make a sound there is in that single moment a million years. It is spaceless like radio waves, like electric space – intrinsic. The Buddha said that there is a mirror that reflects consciousness. In this electric space a million miles and a pinpoint – a million years and a moment – are exactly the same. It is pure essence … We call it ‘original consciousness’ – ‘original akasha’ – perhaps God in the Christian sense. I am afraid of speaking about anything that is not familiar to me. No one can know what IT is …

    The Karandavyuha Sutra presents the great bodhisattva, Avalokitesvara, as a kind of supreme lord of the cosmos. A striking feature of Avalokitesvara in this sutra is his creative power, as he is said to be the progenitor of various heavenly bodies and divinities. Dr. Alexander Studholme, in his monograph on the sutra, writes:

    ‘The sun and moon are said to be born from the bodhisattva’s eyes, Mahesvara [Siva] from his brow, Brahma from his shoulders, Narayana [Vishnu] from his heart, Sarasvati from his teeth, the winds from his mouth, the earth from his feet and the sky from his stomach.’[47]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_in_Buddhism

    Avalokitesvara himself is linked in the versified version of the sutra to the first Buddha, the Adi Buddha, who is ‘svayambhu’ (self-existent, not born from anything or anyone). Dr. Studholme comments: “Avalokitesvara himself, the verse sutra adds, is an emanation of the Adibuddha, or ‘primordial Buddha’, a term that is explicitly said to be synoymous with Svayambhu and Adinatha, ‘primordial lord’.”[48]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_in_Buddhism

    Mr. Yapa, the list is endless.I have given the link, you may refer it to for general knowledge. There is nothing to indicate that Buddhism is even remotely atheist.

  • wijayapala

    Hi Belle,

    That is your twisted logic, hampering you because you have come to a fixed conclusion that Sinhalese are politically quiescent.

    Is it very different from your own logic based on YOUR “fixed conclusion” that the Sinhalese are inherently evil and that the Tamils have always been inherently victims?

    People may not protest at something for various other reasons than political quietism: perhaps they just don’t care about the cause; perhaps the realities of the situation such as the presence of a terrorist force make it impractical to do so. In this instance, I’m suggesting the cause is the latter rather than political acquiescence. To make the claim you do, you need to prove a whole national history of keeping quiet.

    Ok- so in this case, how would you prove the latter and NOT the former for the Tamils regarding the LTTE and its misdeeds?

    What about the development of labour politics and the left-wing movement in your country—does that suggest political quietism to you?

    LOL- Groundviews apparently has addressed this point in a new thread “The pathetic capitulation of the organised Left in Sri Lanka.” UTHR wrote a very incisive critique of “labour politics” in Broken Palmyra, the best I’ve ever come across:

    http://www.uthr.org/BP/volume1/Chapter1.htm

    If you’re still utterly clueless about the Sinhalese but too proud to admit it to me, you should check out Mick Moore’s “The State and Peasant Politics in Sri Lanka.” You can get it through amazon.

    Political quietism is just your excuse to explain away an ethical lapse, i.e. a majority community not caring about fellow-citizens and justice for minorities.

    You mean like how the Tamils did not care about the Muslim minority being driven out of Jaffna by the Tigers? If you would characterize that as an ethical lapse, then I would agree that the Sinhalese have also been involved in similar ethical lapses.

    Seems you didn’t read the earlier Tamilnet story where they claim that Pooneryn didn’t fall to the SLA but that the LTTE had “relocated” Pooneryn! The more fool you expecting logic and rational action from the LTTE.

    That doesn’t address my point that anti-LTTE demonstrations were able to be held in Jaffna without reprisal, thus negating your argument that it was not safe to hold demonstrations.

    I’m not claiming that they’re utterly alien to each other. Which doesn’t mean that they’re exactly the same either.

    I was thinking of yapa, and probably Professor Heshan as well. But I haven’t gotten the impression that you see how both Sinhalese and Tamils tend to think and do the same dumb things.

    I explained the link between the analogy I provided and the situation we were discussing. Strangely, you cut away that explanation in your citing of my post.

    Yes, and clearly I could not follow.

    “Ok. Then how come the SL Tamils did not come out for demonstrations against the LTTE?”

    Why did SL Tamils in Colombo not come out to celebrate the demise of the LTTE? Was it because they did not like the outcome or because they were cowering in fear of violence and humiliation from the Sinhala nationalists?

    Uhh.. why would Sinhala nationalists use violence and humiliation against a Tamil anti-LTTE demonstration?

    You expect a minority community deprived of rights to come out and protest against harm being done to the majority community who are their oppressors?

    So now you understand why the Sinhalese have never protested on behalf of their “Tamil” oppressors?

    Perhaps if they had ever felt included and welcomed in the nation, SL Tamils might have demonstrated against LTTE anti-Sinhalese violence.

    When even educated people like yourself think like this, is it any wonder that SL Tamils have been huddling among themselves all these years?

    See that’s the thing, the Tamils actually have NOT been “huddling among themselves.” Oddly enough this is a Sinhala misperception about Tamils and I’m amazed that you’re repeating it. If anything, the Tamils have been divided along many lines, the pro vs anti-LTTE line only the most recent, and in that sense are hardly the monolithic organized anti-Sri Lanka conspiracy that many Sinhalese make them out to be.

    If Sinhalese had a better knowledge of the divisions between Tamils, they wouldn’t have seen them as a threat and things could have turned out differently. On the other hand, if these divisions didn’t exist then the Tamils may not have had to fear the possibility of the Sinhalese exploiting them.

  • BalangodaMan

    Heshan,

    I too was rather shocked to read Mr Yapa say “Buddha vehemently denied the existence of “creator god”. It is the word ‘vehemently’ that caught my eye.

    Mr Yapa, the point is, however much you wish it not to be the case, PEOPLE all over the world, at all times in history, have had a strong desire to believe in the existence of ‘higher beings’. The main reason is (1) to answer the question of who put us here (creator) and (2) to appeal to them for our salvation (fixer) and (3) who will take us away and to where (heaven, hell, nirvana).

    Again, your position (remember ‘vehemently’?) is more to do with distancing your ‘religious views’ from Christianity than acknowledging the reality of real Buddhism – even to the point of portraying the Buddha to be completely out of touch with the people of his time, and since, as we see that most Buddhists today believe in ‘higher beings’ that can fix things for us (which is their primary need for religion).

    The Buddha was agnostic, not atheist.

  • SomewhatDisgusted

    Dear Longus,

    You can’t call something a scientific “theory” if there’s zero correlation with observational evidence and/or zero predictive power. Therefore, BalangodaMan’s question is very valid. Random speculation cannot elevate itself to theory until and unless rigorous methods are adopted. This is one of the reasons the Large Hadron Collider was built in the first place – to make sure the experimental results validate the existence of the hypothesized Higgs-Boson particle. Otherwise, the Higgs-Boson will remain a predicted phenomenon at best.

    FYI, all of the theories you mentioned have observational evidence + predictive power. Therefore, it’s quite right to ask: can you provide us the grounds on which you claim the truth of this Buddhist theory?

  • BalangodaMan

    Longus,

    SomewhatDisgusted has written exactly what I was going to say.

    Further to what he asked, do we know how the Buddha arrived at his theory? Was it subject to rigorous testing by his peers of his time? (compare this with Archimedes or Pythagoras or Darwin) Do we know why the people who transmitted the theory to us down the ages did so? Why do we *think* they did? Why did people pass it down from generation to generation without challenge? What proof had they seen?

    As we said in the other thread … if it cannot withstand scrutiny it is nothing other than religious dogma, it remains ‘speculative’ and items of ‘faith’. Only the faithful will regard these as ‘true’ for reasons of (well!) … faith, superstition, tribal loyalty. The arguments put forward are unconvincing to the rest of us.

    (the main, if not ‘only’, supporting reason for accepting the theory of karma, rebirth, nirvana is the belief that the author became ‘omniscient’ …. all-knowing-all-seeing, aka. ‘enlightened’. Which is saying that he became ‘god’ in all but name in this respect. This idea is no different from Jesus’s claim that he is the son of god, and Mohammed’s claim that he had been given the word of god. Consequently, there is no reason why an objective rational person would accept one as valid and the others as not)

    Reminder: let’s not introduce the ‘sky is blue’ type of pronouncement (the obvious about the human experience) to validate the fantastic, unproven, unprovable regarding the cosmic order.

    With apologies to Belle/Wijayapala. We’re getting miles away from Peace and Reconciliation. However, it appears that the ‘unshakable truth of an ancient religious doctrine’ stands in the way of Peace in SL today and in the future.

  • yapa

    If somebody proves that Paticca Samuppada and Pancha Niyama Dharma has zero correlation with observational evidence and/or zero predictive power or it has only random speculations I will become an Atheist what ever he wants, the moment he do so. I challenge anybody to do so if possible. We will see whether thunder will bring cats and dogs.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear Heshan;

    Give me a little bit time to respond to you.

    Thanks!

  • BalangodaMan

    Mr Yapa,

    “If somebody proves that Paticca Samuppada and Pancha Niyama Dharma has zero correlation with observational evidence and/or zero predictive power or it has only random speculations I will become an Atheist what ever he wants”

    (As I said before) The items that are observable and predictable are obvious to even pre-historic people (an exploration and categorisation of ‘human experience’ and an exposition that ’cause has effect’). Much of these two discourses fall into that category.

    However, the items that are *speculative* are not observable or predictable (such as, a particular action causes an effect in a completely different unconnected person who may live some time in the future). For example, some of our countrymen have done some really bad things. Are you saying that you can show a predictable outcome in another person (who you will show is ‘actually the same person’) who will be born in (say) 20 years time? Or in 2,000 years time? On some other planet? (Which syllable of ‘observable and predictable’ do you not understand?)

    I have earlier suggested a double-blind experiment, where you get one group to follow some religious path and the other group to behave normally (as normal sensible people). Observe the outcome.

    LOL! If your previous logic is anything to go by, (I predict that !) you will turn this into a circus where *you* expect *us* to prove to you that no living being has been born in the future in order to pay for the crimes of the past sinner. (Mr Yapa, if that doesn’t happened in the course of this discussion I shall marry a chimpanzee).

    (Again, apologies for prolonging this off-topic digression)

  • yapa

    B/Woman is the B/Woman because she said Pancha Niyama Dharma and Paticca Samuppada has no difference with the concepts of the other religions like Creator God. To become the Man he has to disprove them in an accepted method just as the Creator God was rejected. Without going round and round with loads of meaningless statements, you can directly do it. Why waste lots of energy.

    “Maga hondata thiyenam,
    Yanna Desath penenam,
    Kima bediwala yanne,
    Manmula woo ekaku se

    My belief is she had never heard of above Doctrines, before we mentioned them in this forum. A woman made of only materials. Poor creature!

    Thanks!

  • wijayapala

    Belle, please provide comments on the following articles:

    ‘India should stop calling Eezham Tamils a minority’
    http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=79&artid=32562

    Boycott Colombo International Tamil Writers Conference – Tamil Nadu Creativists
    http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=32549

  • Heshan

    longus,

    The recent theories on the origin of the universe comes closer to the “Buddhist Theory”

    I’m only concerned with the Big Bang Theory, not these other “recent” theories, since the Big Bang Theory is still the most widely accepted theory in regards to the origin/creation of the Universe. The singularity is an essential part of the BBT – in fact, it is probably the most important component.

  • Heshan

    BalangodaMan,

    I too was rather shocked to read Mr Yapa say “Buddha vehemently denied the existence of “creator god”. It is the word ‘vehemently’ that caught my eye.

    It is my understanding that while most Buddhists don’t believe in a creator god, they believe in certain “beings” that, for all practical purposes, are equivalent to a god. Mr. Yapa is therefore correct that there is no room in Buddhism for a creator god; unfortunately, he is in the deep end on the issue of Buddhism being atheist.

  • wijayapala

    Dear BalangodaMan,

    We’re getting miles away from Peace and Reconciliation.

    Thank you, I entirely agree.

    However, it appears that the ‘unshakable truth of an ancient religious doctrine’ stands in the way of Peace in SL today and in the future.

    There are a number of problems with that statement. Firstly there already is “peace” in SL although we can all agree it is not a desirable peace. Thus the question should be “where is this peace going?”

    Secondly, I entirely disagree that the ‘unshakable truth of an ancient religious doctrine’ is an obstacle for the future, let alone a cause for the “ethnic conflict.” I trace this conflict primarily to an incorrect and ignorant Sinhala perception of the Tamils that began around independence and may have strengthened during the war. I told this to yapa but then you derailed the discussion by bringing in religion.

    This fantasy that secularism is the panacea for all the current problems is not too different from the thinking of Westerners that the solution to the problems in the Islamic world is to encourage secularism and support secular-minded leaders, regardless of how unpopular they or their views are. Since the Westerners, like you, do not really view education as the solution (esp given the low social position of teachers in western society), it is not surprising that the only access to education that many Muslims receive is from Saudi-funded madrassas which preach hatred and violence. So much for the “war on terror.”

  • wijayapala

    Is this what you all mean by secularism?

    Proposed 18th Amendment is grave threat to democracy and good governance-National Christian Council
    http://transcurrents.com/tc/2010/09/proposed_18th_amendment_is_gra.html

  • SomewhatDisgusted

    Dear Wijayapala,

    RE: “Is this what you all mean by secularism?

    Proposed 18th Amendment is grave threat to democracy and good governance-National Christian Council”

    Secularism cannot prevent religious people from holding political views. It can however, explicitly prevent the *government* from acting to appease religious sects and/or give the govt. an escape route in avoiding religious rubbish sneaking into government. Consider for example, the american constitution preventing the teaching of “intelligent design” or forcing prayer on children during school.

    I agree with you however, that education is the key to many problems!! This means teachers need to be paid roughly 5 to 10 times the salary they are being paid right now, so as to attract the best candidates.

    I still remember my history teacher taught us the Mahavamsa version of history with Tamil Hordes intent on destroying the glorious Sinhala Buddhist civilization in a classic Yapaesque version of history. Where do you propose we find teachers to replace them? How do you propose to battle the religious paranoia that’s instilled into children at a young age? Why do you conclude that religion too does not play a factor here, considering that it’s inextricably intertwined with Sinhalese identity (at least for most)? And how do you propose to do any of this without instilling a concept of secularism and the equality of man?

  • yapa

    Dear Heshan;

    “You did a stunning job of completely avoiding my questions.”

    Please tell me precisely the questions of yours I have avoided answering, so that I can re-answer them. Anyway I have seen a complete shift of the topic in your last posts addressed to you. Do you really think it is not so?

    Thanks!

  • longus

    Heshan

    As I explained earlier the “singularity” in the Big Bang theory is neither a requirement nor a component. It has been discarded by physicists with the advent of the “quantum gravity” theories. The same thing happened to the supposed singularity in a Black Hole with the discovery that the entropy of a black hole is increasing.

    Your holding onto the singularity – with the hope of proving your Creator! – is akin to hanging on to that “ether” theory which was believed to be a requirement for the transmission of electro-magnetic waves, before Einstein! And your refusal to see beyond the “singularity” is another proof of your “intellectual bigotry”!

    Amen!

  • longus

    Dear BalangodaMan & somewhatdisgusted

    Yes you have a point there. As I have mentioned in my earlier posts ” founders of ancient religions (most of them were very good men) only had “their moments of brilliance”. On the backdrop of the time they lived this becomes remarkable, but at the same time these ideas cannot be tested in “objective experiments” as they were not supposed to have been uttered in that context. Especially Buddha’s discourses on the composition of the galaxies and the super clusters can be taken as “unexplainable knowledge” considering the time period he lived and the theories about the universe the rest of the world held at that time – unless of course, the whole thing is coincidental speculation!

    Not only Buddha, even the ancient Mayans had such an advanced knowledge of the universe, when the rest of the world was crawling far behind, that their source of knowledge is puzzling. They not only knew that the sun is in the centre of our solar system, but also knew exactly when the centre of our GALAXY aligns with the sun! All these cannot be discarded as mere speculation, as they are so accurate!

    This is the frontier of science that we still haven’t embarked on and such ancient knowledge remains to be explored; without bias.

  • wijayapala

    Prof Heshan

    I’m only concerned with the Big Bang Theory

    I previously gave you not only Big Bang, but Big Crunch and Evolution as well, all in one Sutta! Unfortunately you were too tongue-tied to reply. Can Jesus top that? ;-)

    http://tipitaka.wikia.com/wiki/Agganna_Sutta

    There comes a time, Vasettha, when, sooner or later after a long period, this world contracts. At a time of contraction, beings are mostly born in the Abhassara Brahma world. And there they dwell, mind-made, feeding on delight, self-luminous, moving through the air, glorious–and they stay like that for a very long time. But sooner or later, after a very long period, this world begins to expand again. At a time of expansion the beings from the Abhassara Brahma world, having passed away from there, are mostly reborn in this world. Here they dwell, mind-made, feeding on delight, self-luminous, moving through the air, glorious–and they stay like that for a very long time.

    “At that period, Vasettha, there was just one mass of water, and all was darkness, blinding darkness. Neither moon nor sun appeared, no constellations or stars appeared, night and day were not distinguished, nor months and fortnights, no years or seasons, and no male and female, beings being reckoning just as beings. And sooner or later, after a very long period of time, savory earth spread itself over the waters where those beings were. It looked just like the skin that forms itself over hot milk as it cools. It was endowed with color, smell and taste. It was the color of fine ghee or butter, and it was very sweet, like pure wild honey.

    “Then some being of greedy nature said: ‘I say, what can this be?’ and tasted the savory earth on its finger. In so doing, it became taken with the flavor, and craving arose in it. Then other beings, taking their cue from that one, also tasted the stuff with their fingers. They too were taken with the flavor, and craving arose in them. So they set to with their hands, breaking off pieces of the stuff in order to eat it. And the result of this was that their self-luminance disappeared. And as a result of the disappearance of their self-luminance, the moon and the sun appeared, night and day were distinguished, months and fortnights appeared, and the year and its seasons. To that extent the world re-evolved.

    “And those beings continued for a very long time feasting on this savory earth, feeding on it and being nourished by it. And as they did so, their bodies became courser, and a difference in looks developed among them. Some beings became good-looking, others ugly. And the good-looking ones despised the others, saying: ‘We are better-looking than they are.’ And because they became arrogant and conceited about their looks, the savory earth disappeared. At this they came together and lamented, crying: ‘Oh that flavor! Oh that flavor!’ And as nowadays when people say: ‘Oh that flavor!’ when they get something nice, they are repeating an ancient saying without realizing it…”

  • wijayapala

    SD

    It can however, explicitly prevent the *government* from acting to appease religious sects

    So you support Mahinda ignoring the National Christian Council?

    I still remember my history teacher taught us the Mahavamsa version of history with Tamil Hordes intent on destroying the glorious Sinhala Buddhist civilization in a classic Yapaesque version of history.

    Did you actually read the Mahavamsa in your history class or a textbook that claimed to paraphrase the Mahavamsa? I had a textbook that did not mention Vijaya and his supporters getting wives from Tamil Nadu or Elara’s bell- key omissions from the real deal.

    And how do you propose to do any of this without instilling a concept of secularism and the equality of man?

    A number of people have suggested scrapping the ethnically-divided school system that encourages closed-door racism. But before this can be done, a new curriculum and new textbooks have to be created which actually teach history.

  • Heshan

    longus,

    The Big Bang Theory is not possible without a singularity. You cannot discard the singularity. I don’t care about quantum gravity theories, as the Big Bang Theory is still more widely accepted and popular than any other theory in regards to the creation of the Universe – a fact which you seem to conveniently ignore. I suggest you stop claiming that the Big Bang Theory is possible without a singularity, unless you can back up your claim with a valid reference (other than quantum gravity).

    Big Bang vs. other theories:

    The theory is the most comprehensive and accurate explanation supported by scientific evidence and observations.[5][6]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bang

  • Heshan

    Dear Yapa:

    Please tell me precisely the questions of yours I have avoided answering, so that I can re-answer them.

    I asked you to state explicitly from the Pali Canon when and where Buddha denied the existence of God. It seems you are unable to do this, and now are hiding behind corners to avoid the issue altogether. Also, you have tried to make a case that Buddhism denies the existence of God, when in fact, most Buddhists are venerating Buddha (equivalent to God-status) and/or worshiping higher beings that are equivalent to God.

  • Heshan

    Somewhat Disgusted:

    I still remember my history teacher taught us the Mahavamsa version of history with Tamil Hordes intent on destroying the glorious Sinhala Buddhist civilization in a classic Yapaesque version of history. Where do you propose we find teachers to replace them? How do you propose to battle the religious paranoia that’s instilled into children at a young age? Why do you conclude that religion too does not play a factor here, considering that it’s inextricably intertwined with Sinhalese identity (at least for most)? And how do you propose to do any of this without instilling a concept of secularism and the equality of man?

    Excellent post – and thanks for your honesty. You are spot on that the undue racial theories begin with the teaching of Mahavamsa in the lower standards. In the larger context, I would say its probably impossible to teach Mahavamsa to vulnerable youngsters without instilling some kind of nationalist sentiment. After all, at that age, the sensationalist aspects are what they will remember most. Stuff like Dutugemunu slaying Elara, and Dutugemunu *lamenting* that on one side is the sea, and the other the Tamils.

  • Heshan

    longus,

    specially Buddha’s discourses on the composition of the galaxies and the super clusters can be taken as “unexplainable knowledge” considering the time period he lived and the theories about the universe the rest of the world held at that time – unless of course, the whole thing is coincidental speculation!

    Not only Buddha, even the ancient Mayans had such an advanced knowledge of the universe, when the rest of the world was crawling far behind, that their source of knowledge is puzzling.

    The problem is that neither Buddha nor the Mayans wrote down a single mathematical equation to back up their claims. Without a sound mathematical foundation, any claim amounts to mere speculation and is not a proven theory. What did Buddha actually prove related to science? Absolutely nothing. There is no scientific theory of rebirth, karma, nibbana, etc. The Mayans at least had a counting system and an accurate calendar so we can say they were somewhat advanced – but which ancient civilization did not have those?

  • Heshan

    “And those beings continued for a very long time feasting on this savory earth, feeding on it and being nourished by it. And as they did so, their bodies became courser, and a difference in looks developed among them. Some beings became good-looking, others ugly. And the good-looking ones despised the others, saying: ‘We are better-looking than they are.’

    Pseudo-science at its best! I nominate the author of the above for the “Nobel Fool’s Prize.”

    Unfortunately the Nobel Fool forgot to mention gases, so there is no correlation to the Big Bang. Contraction and singularity are not the same thing.

  • SomewhatDisgusted

    Dear Longus

    RE: “specially Buddha’s discourses on the composition of the galaxies and the super clusters can be taken as “unexplainable knowledge””

    Can you please give a reference to these passages so I can judge for myself? What I’ve seen so far, especially with regard to scientific truth in the Agganna sutta, is confirmation bias and subjective validation in action. 99% of the Agganna sutta consist of misses, with an out-of-context, 1% hit being given prominence. Interpreted this way, even Nostradamus was omniscient. We’ve already discussed it at length in that epic previous thread. These are well-understood cognitive biases, I don’t understand why anyone would choose to ignore them.

    RE: “All these cannot be discarded as mere speculation, as they are so accurate!”

    While I agree that these should be investigated as best as we can, that doesn’t mean these people were omniscient or had access to magical knowledge. They too may have figured things out in exactly the same way we did, or it may have been pure speculation. I mean, Eratosthenes even measured the circumference of the earth to astonishing accuracy and Aristarchus presented the first known heliocentric model of the universe. We know that wasn’t omniscience because we also know how they arrived at those figures. The problem with the Mayans is, we aren’t so sure how they came about the figures. But why would anyone be tempted to assign a supernatural explanation to it? That would be falling prey to the fallacy of argument from ignorance. Further, probability does not favour supernatural explanations.

    As for the Buddha, I’m yet to see a statement made by him that conclusively proves any kind of omniscience or conclusively demonstrates knowledge inconceivable in his time. All attempts to elevate him to this status of omniscience seems more a result of wishful thinking than actual fact.

    So far, magical omniscience ranks low on my list of possible explanations for Mayan knowledge or the Buddha’s knowledge. I am quite eager to listen to contrary evidence as long as it’s convincing.

  • SomewhatDisgusted

    Dear Longus,

    Just to clarify. I’m not suggesting that you believe magic is the answer, unlike some other people on this forum. It’s clear that you are reasonably critical minded on this topic and that’s precisely what drives you to entertain the possibility of omniscience as an answer. What I’m trying to do is to show that the precise opposite is also entirely, if not more, plausible.

    One of the reasons I believe that many people are willing to entertain these notions is because we should be open-minded about different possibilities. We should indeed be! But being open-minded about something and actually believing in something that’s pretty unlikely, as Mr. Yapa is doing, is not the same thing IMO.

    For example, Mr. Yapa believes that the Buddha actually flew through the air and placed an elephantine footprint on top of some obscure mountain in a little known island because the Buddha foresaw that this island would be the sacred refuge of Buddhism for the rest of eternity. And Mr. Yapa takes his holy duty seriously, which is why he battles us “decadent western conspirators” ceaselessly. That’s also why any discussion with him inevitably turned into parallel monologues – after all his “holy duty” was always crystal clear and no further discussion was ever needed.

    Normally, people who believed things like that would be institutionalized without delay. But as it so happens, when it’s a “religious” belief, such a thing is considered quite “normal”. It’s no different to the fact that it’s quite respectable to say you are having a conversation with God, but the moment you say you are having a conversation with Zeus, people would think you are a bit off the deep-end.

    Being unable to separate fact from fiction is at the heart of the matter. That’s what drives one to believe that the bronze age myths of camel herders written down in the Bible is the gospel truth or to think that the Mahavamsa alone is the unerring chronicle of Sri Lankan history or that the Tripitaka represents the pinnacle of human knowledge. All of this because human beings are pattern seeking mammals, chock full of cognitive biases and while that pattern seeking may have helped us in the Savannahs of Africa, in more modern times, they misfire a bit too often for comfort. Not being aware or willing to confront our own cognitive biases is one of the biggest issues confronting us.

  • yapa

    Outdated Newtonian Science and Lamentation of Western Soul made in East

    The tide of the “Scientific Revolution” started rising in the 14th century in Europe, with the help of capital formed on wealth robbed from all over the globe and the stolen knowledge originated in ancient civilizations like Greece. Hundred of great civilizations, and millions of innocent lives of the people and hundreds of peaceful societies were sent to guillotine to build up that “modern civilization” came up in Europe. American continent, Australia and many other countries were forcibly grabbed from their real owners and demographic composition of many countries were manipulated as their greedy wish and planted time bombs in those countries in the name of that revolution. If you want to know what damage they have done to the sentiments of such people please go through You can see the consequences of that “time bomb” of those colonials in this country, just by going through the misery we had to face during the last thirty years. You can think of the massive destruction they have done to the whole world to the humankind, in the name of this revolution, on the basis of our bitter experience taken place in our country. But for our slaves who have got a chance to lick a left over bone of colonials think “Colonials are Creator Gods” and we have/ had nothing significant/valuable in our societies. They bark at everything if it is local and wag the tail and lick any bloody thing if it is of their foreign masters. These people are no different than three blind mice that run after that woman even after she cut their tails with a carving knife.

    “Three blind mice, three blind mice,
    See how they run, see how they run,
    They all ran after the farmer’s wife,
    Who cut off their tails with a carving knife,
    Did you ever see such a thing in your life,
    As three blind mice?”

    It is said that slaves tend to cultivate love for their iron chains that are used to tie them to their iron cages.

    It is with this slave mentality that they worship every nook and corner of outdated western science and bark even at a little dust of local values, not with any understanding.
    I challenge they neither knows Science nor any other valuable knowledge originated at any part of the world. These primitive women, as suggested by their names with their swollen headed accomplices can only do are barking, wagging tails and licking the left over bones. They know nothing more than that.

    Really the origin of western science was in Greece in Europe or any other so called developed country. Then the Science was developed as a philosophy that did not have “subjective interests”. Then Science or (Natural) Philosophy was catered only for the interest of philosophy itself, and developed on the basis of Inductive Logic, which gave accurate conclusions. Then it was only a rational exercise, which was totally confined to rational intellects, not to each and every nitwit who have learnt science from science fictions.

    However, with the acceptance of the knowledge gained through “Inductive Logic” in Europe “Science” started to develop with leaps and bounces though it lost its “academic interest”. The focus of Science shifted from quality to quantity in Europe with the giving up of the accuracy and precision from its focal point. That is how”Empiricism” was introduced to Science as its main progressing drive. With the influence of Judeo- Christian Tradition and the interests to grab the world for resources, the Science changed its direction of progress and grown as a enormous giant whose shadow covered the whole world. Every other thing in the world disappeared in the dazzling light of this New Science and Science (Newtonian Science) itself believed that everything in the universe could be explained through in a mechanical way (Newtonian Mechanics), and further believed that anything other than Science is not necessary to realize every thing in the universe. So the “Believers” or every “Scientific Nitwit”, started to give “beatings” blindly to each and everything even looking at them. Now the era of Newtonian Science has lapsed, still these “believers “are hanged on to that outdated science and barking in ignorance to every leaf fallen from the sky. God! Please forgive these ignorant women.

    Science has become a mighty genie in Europe and gave them whatever they thought of, though it had a monstrous heart. It brought many perils to the people of the other parts of the world. However, it should be noted that the acceptance of “Inductive Logic or “Empirical Method” as a tool in Science, paved the way to a massive development of it we are witnessing today. If we did not accept it as a “Methodology” in 14th century and confined to perfect “Deductive Logic” of Ancient Greece, alone, still we would have been using bullock carts in the place of Mercedes Benz. So the real change taken place in Europe took place when it accepted a new methodology to Science. This shows that new innovations in methodologies can revolutionize Science.

    I think such an initiative is in the vicinity, in my view at present. Even, with the new methodology, introduced in Europe, Science shies away from other forms of knowledge and limited its scope only to objective ( in real sense it was not objective after inductive logic was introduced to it in Europe) material areas. Science was blind in non material and subjective areas of knowledge. Science had no guarantee that only the knowledge areas within its scope are true and correct, but it is only a blind belief of “superficial science believers”. In subjective areas too there is true an correct knowledge, as I have mentioned in my personal experience of “Horoscope Phenomenon”, only problem is there is no methodology in Science to accept this truth. It is a shortcoming in Science, though “believers” will think that science is perfect. So, I believe that if this short coming in Science is avoided or treated properly the third phase of Science would stat in 21st century, as the 2nd phase was started in Europe. This would give access to neglected repositories of knowledge looking forward to come up to serve the world. This new knowledge at least would tame the heartless monster Science developed after 14th century.

    However, still there is a problem. The souls of the believers of that deterministic Science, is trembling in fear when we talk about something progressive, which will level a threat to their belief system. They know nothing other than this, for the survival of their souls other than worshiping the old mythologies developed seven centuries ago in Europe.We have heard of the Lamentation of Grey Pigeon (Alu Kobeyyage valapilla) when we were small. We should not be shaken by the lamentations of these ignorant women: the caravan will progress despite the barks and howls of the ignorant dogs.

    Thanks!
    .

  • yapa

    Correction…….

    “If you want to know what damage they have done to the sentiments of such people please go through”

    Should be corrected as

    “If you want to know what damage they have done to the sentiments of such people please go through Red Indian Chief Seattle’s letter sent to the white sahibs.”

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    correction….

    Really the origin of western science was in Greece in Europe or any other so called developed country.

    Should be corrected as

    Really the origin of western science was in Greece,and not in Europe or any other so called developed country.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    “Mr. Yapa believes that the Buddha actually flew through the air……..”

    Flew through air…………?

    Please learn to use proper wording to respect respected things. You have no knowledge of such small etiquettes even, while worshiping the winds coming from the west? Don’t be a material cynic. Understand the sentiments.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    “For example, Mr. Yapa believes that the Buddha actually flew through the air and placed an elephantine footprint on top of some obscure mountain in a little known island because the Buddha foresaw that this island would be the sacred refuge of Buddhism for the rest of eternity.”

    You should not think on behalf of me.

    I will say what I think. You have no counter arguments for what I say. That is why you create things what I have never said as as I sad.

    Please quote my writing when you criticize my ideas. You are very famous for beating straw men.

    Thanks!

  • SomewhatDisgusted

    Dear Wijayapala

    RE: “So you support Mahinda ignoring the National Christian Council?”

    The issue was not a religious one and I think you get that. I also think you understand the purpose of a secular constitution. The same safeguards will be available to *all* religions to protect themselves from each other’s madness. I also think Mahinda Mama’s dynasty is worrying and the personality cult around him even more worrying. The apparent attitude that the purpose of a constitution is to revolve around a single personality or one’s favourite party, is a testament to the depth of the problem.

    RE: “Did you actually read the Mahavamsa in your history class or a textbook that claimed to paraphrase the Mahavamsa? I had a textbook that did not mention Vijaya and his supporters getting wives from Tamil Nadu or Elara’s bell- key omissions from the real deal.”

    I think you’re right here. I should have written my sentence as “Mahavamsa based” history. I acknowledge your point that the Mahavamsa itself is being twisted to to suit the ends of some. But still, we can’t deny that it is the source they use to “justify” their beliefs, whether or not that justification is warranted. It’s no different to the Christians using the Bible to justify homophobia while selectively ignoring the misogyny and passages on slavery. I also agree with you that this in no way invalidates the Mahavamsa and disagree with Heshan is he thinks it does. The only thing it requires is that it not be treated as the gospel truth but merely a historical chronicle from a certain perspective.

    I don’t recall the story of Elara’s bell being taught, although the fact that Elara was a just king was mentioned somewhere I think. I can’t recall exactly whether Wijaya getting brides was mentioned, although other kings doing so were mentioned. My actual critique was not even on the books in use, but the perspective that the teachers were giving it!

    RE: “A number of people have suggested scrapping the ethnically-divided school system that encourages closed-door racism. But before this can be done, a new curriculum and new textbooks have to be created which actually teach history.”

    That’s of course a very good idea, to paraphrase Ghandi, except for the Yapas who will protest saying that the actual history is the bastardization and “their” history is the real thing, devoid of interference from evil decadent conspirators hell-bent on spreading western hegemony in order to undermine the glorious, unparalleled civilization of the Sinhalese. How do you deal with that?

  • SomewhatDisgusted

    Dear Heshan,

    RE: “You are spot on that the undue racial theories begin with the teaching of Mahavamsa in the lower standards. In the larger context, I would say its probably impossible to teach Mahavamsa to vulnerable youngsters without instilling some kind of nationalist sentiment. After all, at that age, the sensationalist aspects are what they will remember most. Stuff like Dutugemunu slaying Elara, and Dutugemunu *lamenting* that on one side is the sea, and the other the Tamils.”

    Please see my reply to Wijayapala. I don’t believe that how the Mahavamsa is “interpreted” by some necessarily invalidates its content. Anything can be twisted to support some ideology, but that doesn’t mean that the source itself is entirely wrong. The Mahavamsa contains historical facts interwoven with myth and legend. It is the duty of the historian to tease them apart.

    But the fact that it contains myth and legend doesn’t mean it’s wrong in its entirety, especially when certain facts have been cross-checked and bear historical accuracy. What I would entertain is not blind prejudice against the Mahavamsa, but a protest against misusing the Mahavamsa to justify racism. No historical chronicle, no matter how grand, can justify racism, jingoism and cultural stereotyping and that’s what the Yapa’s of this world don’t have the IQ to understand.

  • BalangodaMan

    Mr Yapa,

    “Flew through air…………?”
    Are you saying that you do not believe that the Buddha came to SL three times by air, and on one of those occasions he placed a rather large footprint on top of a hill, and decreed on his deathbed that the island of SL would be the guardian of his teachings in its purest form for eternity?

    Which part of this, specifically, don’t you believe?

    ‘Women’
    ———-
    Why is it that, when you refer to anyone in derogatory terms, you refer to them as ‘women’?

    Parallel monologues
    ——————–
    Which part(s) of anything I or SomewhatDisgusted has written has had the biggest impact on changing the way you understand things?

  • yapa

    correction……….

    Then Science or (Natural) Philosophy was catered only for the interest of philosophy itself, and developed on the basis of Inductive Logic………

    Here “inductive Logic” should be corrected as “deductive Logic”

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Jokers who have no knowledge to discuss deep doctrines of Buddhism in depth and in details at a micro level, humiliate asking naive and gross questions like, did Buddha fly to Sri Lanka through air, how Buddha placed a rather large footprint on top of a hill? etc. .. etc.. . Any fool can kept on asking any amount of such unending questions about any Science or Philosophy so that any scholar cannot prove or convince anything in them. That does not represent the cleverness of the questioner or it does not say anything about the inferiority of the particular subject or its credibility. The gross questioners might think that they are too clever preventing answerers establishing anything on the subject. But they are mistaken. That is why I suggested to take some doctrine like ” Dhammapadaya” and analyse and apply literary criticism in detail going down to its depth to see whether it has lapses, deficiencies or contradictions. How can anybody reject anything on the basis of just created suspicions on the macro level? If anybody who says old religion has no substance to the today’s world, I challenge directly to come for a in depth debate on “Dhammapada” or “Pancha Niyama Dharma” together with Paticca Samuppada. Any body can ask questions , but not general questions or speculative questions or just imaginations, but the questions based on the details of the subject area. Is anybody ready?

    I challenge anybody without just uttering general questions that can be raised on any subject to raise subject specific questions and analyse any doctrine and show the lapses. Without doing so, anybody can just brand anything as they want. Would anybody like to analyze “Dhammapadaya” to see the consistency of Buddhism? Can you bold guys analyse a few stanzas and show us some short comings in them. Open invitation/challenge to brave critiques of Buddhism.

    WRT, Heshan’s comments on my last posts to addressed to him, I have critically shown that the not necessity or redundancy or irrelevance of the “Creator God” concept to describe the nature of the universe, which he had been trying to emphasize as mandatory. Further, when he questioned I showed that Buddha has rejected that concept and explained the reasons as to why people fall into that wrong view. Further, I have shown how “Avyakatha Status” exactly fit the “First Question” from where the universe came into being. After that Heshan, is telling I have not answered his questions. Then what Heshan has to do is to expose the errors of my arguments, not grossly telling I have not answered his questions and running away. Heshan, do you accept my arguments or not? If not show them with reasons.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear Heshan;

    “I asked you to state explicitly from the Pali Canon when and where Buddha denied the existence of God. It seems you are unable to do this, and now are hiding behind corners to avoid the issue altogether. Also, you have tried to make a case that Buddhism denies the existence of God, when in fact, most Buddhists are venerating Buddha (equivalent to God-status) and/or worshiping higher beings that are equivalent to God.”

    1. Aggañña Sutta is the 27th Sutta of Digha Nikaya collections.

    You can take the Pali Canon and directly read it.

    2. I have disproved the creator God Concept, showed that that it is unnecessary, irrelevant and redundant to explain the origin of the universe. I have never had a problem about the existence of other types of gods as I could not disprove them. Further, I think you understand the position that somebody’s acceptance acceptance Buddha as God does not make him a god. He has very clearly said that he is a human being who realized the nature of the world. Further, I have repeatedly told you that I am arguing for Buddhist doctrines and not rituals. Buddha has never asked to perform aimless rituals. Please limit your scope to doctrines, specially Theravada doctrines in the discussion with me. I Am not responsible for other versions I have no fair knowledge about them.

    OK! Now I gave the answers, for the your questions you said I avoided.

    Now precisely, respond to my points and the queries raised in my posts.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    “Why is it that, when you refer to anyone in derogatory terms, you refer to them as ‘women’?”

    Women is your plural.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    I don’t like SomewhatDisgusted’s “wahen oro”, I prefer ohen waro”.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    To start the discussion with a stanza from Dhammapada I would like to propose the following for the kind attention of the Buddhist Doctrine critiques.

    “Sabbe thasanthi dandassa,
    Sabbe bhayanthi maccuno,
    Aththano upaman kathva,
    Nahaneyyana Ghathaye ”

    If somebody says that as the teaching of olden day people is not required to fix the computer, this stanza has no any validity in the modern day or it acts as counter to the present day modern norms, please be kind enough to show it.

    Meaning of the stanza is,

    “All fear , punishment to all life is dear. Comparing oneself with others , one should neither kill or cause to kill”.

    If anybody says this is outdated, please be kind enough to reason out.

    Gossiping women and accomplices are invited start to prove their case.

    Thanks!

  • Heshan

    Dear Yapa:

    I have asked for the direct quote where he (Buddha) denies the existence of God. I have not asked for the name of the sutra. The burden of proof is on you not me, since I do not consider myself an authority on Buddhism, such as you are (or claim to be).

    I have never had a problem about the existence of other types of gods as I could not disprove them.

    Well if you believe in gods then you believe in “a” god as well, because you believe in at least one god. If I give you four bananas, you have at least one banana. Therefore, I can say you have a banana, even though you may have four bananas. Now, it is rather clever to accept these other gods exist but not a creator god. The question is, who created these creator gods? Were they created at all, or are they simply a manifestation of the same god? As a Buddhist, you are simply assuming the existence of many gods, without any regard to their origin. That is not very different from assuming the existence of a Creator God, without any regard to the origin.

  • longus

    Heshan

    By not wanting to listen to qantum mechanics at the beginning of the universe, don’t you know that you are rejecting one of the key pillars on which modern science stands?

    You question Yapa, whether he doesn’t want to believe in some Pali canons which describe the “worlds of gods”, and unwittingly you your self fall into the same predicament by refusing to accept one of the key aspect of science, don’t you?

    Don’t you know that the classical theories break down when it comes to small scale of things? And that you can’t apply Newtonian physics when it comes to atoms and particles? The beginning of the universe was one such small scale event where quantum mechanics operate!

    As far as your gospel, wikipedia is concerned you can go to the following sites and educate yourself;
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bang
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ultimate-fate-of-the-universe

    and also:

    http://universe-review.ca/F02-cosmicbg.html
    under Quantum cosmology and pre Big Bang theories

    Still the classical Big Bang theory is discribed in the sites I gave you before the more modern theories are described mainly because the experimental evidence for the latter is still forthcoming. Some are in the mathematical formula stage only. As for the theory of “dark energy”, extensive research ic being done and it it likely that a “fifth force” will be discovered soon in the form of “Dark Energy”. As for the quantum theories of the Big Bang, eminant physicists like Steven Hawking are working on them because a singularity in your classical Big Bang theory leaves many un-answered questions. As for the string theory, as it awaits experimental evidence, the idea is to explain many un explained observations.

    “The problem is that Buddha or the Mayans never wrote down a single mathematical formula to back up their claims”

    Do you find any mathematical equations written down by Jesus or any of the previous prophets to claim that there was a creation? Aren’t you in the same quandary in believing the creator?

  • longus

    Dear SomeWhatDisgusted

    As for the sutras where a model of the universe that is close to the modern concept is described I can quote “Maha Sihanaada Sutra”. The model described here is a universe which goes and on with structures within even bigger structures. This may not fit exactly what the modern science knows, but the core concept is the same. and I wiould give it a 75% similarity.

    I DO NOT THINK THAT “MAGIC” IS INVOLVED IN THE ANCIENT KNOWLEDGE OF THE MAYANS OR OTHER ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS, eventhough they might have “practiced magic”!

    Well, it may be some source of knowledge which they had access to. May be the extra terrestrials who visited here! To simplyfy some of the more puzzling aspects of their knowledge (for example the Mayans did not have a written language,in spite of their arstronomical achievements; they had a complex counting consisted of “knots” called “kiphu”, and now research are being conducted as to know whether these knots carried much more than a counting system)

    It’s impossible according to many researchers that such knowledge originated in the normal process of trial and error, as sits beyond their day to day requirements-who wants to know the centre of our galaxy if it doesn’t feed them?- So, all this is apeculative science,but maybe our narrow scope of science still cannot see the things that lie just beyond its scope!

  • longus

    Yapa

    The stanza you quote from the Dhammapada is quite interesting, although I’m at a loss as to how it could in anyway help someone to repair his computer! I appreciate if you could explain it to me.

    Such teachings are commom in all religions and it doesn’t make an extra-ordinary reading! Those are the good things that the religions have done to the world – apart from the many bad things by the followers!

    Whether Buddha arrived in Sri Lanka by “air”-meaning ;re-materilizing himself by means of meditative prowess, is a valid question. As a believer of the Buddha’s super-human powers you are well entitled to believe so, but at the same time you become no different from a catholic who believes in the miracles of Jesus or his resurrection. Questioning the size of Buddha’s alleged foot print on Sri Pada is also valid question, as the same question arose in me when I went to the summit of this beautiful mountain as a kid. The answer that my late grand mother gave me was that the real foot print in hidden under the outer rock! So I was wondering as to why anybody didn’t venture to unearth it so far, as it would have been an invaluble evidence for the Buddha’s visit to Sri Lanka!

    Is it because the blind faith-which Buddha rejected- has taken over our rational minds after a phylosophy became a religion?

  • God

    Behold

    I didn’t do it guys, althought you always suspected me of doing it! That’s why you always find fault with me when you forget to take your wallet and say, “oh! God!”

  • SomewhatDisgusted

    Dear Mr. Yapa,

    You were asked several direct and pointed questions, which you evaded blithely. Let me jog your memory.

    1. Do you or do you not believe that
    a. The Buddha flew through the air, fluttered through the wind, teleported, dematerialized/rematerialized, astrally projected himself, beamed himself through Scottie, used a flux capacitor or whatever you’d prefer to call it, and visited Sri Lanka on at least 3 occasions?
    b. That on one such occasion, he placed a gigantic footprint on a hill in Sri Lanka?
    c. That he said the Sinhala-Buddhists were the holy guardians of Buddhism and it was their sacred duty to preserve it for future generations?

    2. Why do you call someone a woman when you wish to speak in derogatory terms about him? Please don’t give us rubbish answers about plural forms and insult the intelligence of others on this forum. Give us direct, pointed answers.

    At least earn some precious Karmic points for honesty, even if you get none for intelligence.

    As for your repeated lamentation about the Dhammapada. Mr. Yapa, please try to display at least a modicum of intelligence without demonstrating to the rest of the world that a typical Buddhist might be nothing but a brain-dead, scripture spouting muppet. You are taking some philosophical statement about not killing people and then using that to claim the truth of the whole of Buddhism? Are you serious or merely trying to hoodwink the readers of this forum?

    No one has challenged the moral philosophy of the Buddha, as that’s not *relevant*. What we’ve repeatedly asked you to do is to verify the *supernatural claims*. Is this difficult to understand in any way? Are you going to believe Newton’s alchemy because he was right about his laws of motion? If not, why do you believe in the Buddha’s stories about Kamma Rebirth and Nirvana because he was right about his moral philosophy?

    Seriously, a lack of intelligence can be excused, but deliberate dishonesty and wasting people’s time to carry out holy duties will not be appreciated by anyone. Which is it?

  • Heshan

    longus,

    Why quote from third-rate websites? There is no contradiction between the Big Bang Theory and Quantum Mechanics; this is simply your ridiculous opinion.

    http://pirsa.org/08120001/
    Quantum Nature of the Big bang in Simple Models.
    Abhay Ashtekar
    Perimeter video with slides PDF
    3 December 2008

    “According to general relativity, space-time ends at singularities and classical physics just stops. In particular, the big bang is regarded as The Beginning. However, general relativity is incomplete because it ignores quantum effects. Through simple models, I will illustrate how the quantum nature of space-time geometry resolves the big bang singularity. Quantum physics does not stop there. Indeed, quantum space-times can be vastly larger than what general relativity had us believe, with unforeseen physical effects in the deep Planck regime.”

    It’s a well-organized informative talk giving an up-to-date picture of quantum cosmology research into the process surrounding the big bang. Ashtekar is a leader in this field and a mentor to others. He knows most of the people involved and what the latest results are. However he talks fast, so you may need to listen to some parts over again.

    http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=277442

    Still the classical Big Bang theory is discribed in the sites I gave you before the more modern theories are described mainly because the experimental evidence for the latter is still forthcoming

    Hahahaha… do you mean like STRING THEORY which is considered pseudo-science by 95% of the physics community? You can’t disprove either the Big Bang Theory nor the singularity, no matter how hard you try. Pointing to *future* theories only shows your desperation.

    Do you find any mathematical equations written down by Jesus or any of the previous prophets to claim that there was a creation? Aren’t you in the same quandary in believing the creator?

    Jesus never claimed to be a scientist or an expositor of any kind of mathematical logic, so your argument in that regard lacks any basis. In any case, whatever knowledge Buddha had (other than his psychological theories) were taken directly from Vedas so Buddhism cannot make any claim to originality. Furthermore, I have already demonstrated that Buddha never denied the existence of a creator god. He was simply “silent” on the issue… no one has ever been able to disprove the existence of God, which is why the non-existence/existence argument never ends.

  • wijayapala

    In any case, whatever knowledge Buddha had (other than his psychological theories) were taken directly from Vedas so Buddhism cannot make any claim to originality.

    Unless Prof Heshan can provide evidence that the Buddha drew his knowledge from the Vedas, we unfortunately will have to treat his claims as his typical Christian fundamentalist lunatic raving.

  • BalangodaMan

    Heshan,

    You asked Mr Yapa
    “I have asked for the direct quote where he (Buddha) denies the existence of God.”

    In the unlikely even that Mr Yapa does not respond to your request let me (dutifully!) jump to his defence.

    It is true that the scriptures acknowledge a world of gods. This is however not inconsistent with the statement that ‘the Buddha vehemently denied the existence of God’. This is because the existence of a ‘world’ of gods does not necessarily imply that that world has any gods in it. LOL!

    Mr Yapa,

    The essential point about this god-or-no-god things is, in my feeble ‘woman-like’ observation I have noticed that most people would like to think that there *is* a god (except those intelligent people who prefer to take a realistic and rational view in this regard). So much so that even when their cherished religious leader says there isn’t one (vehemently) they would prefer to ignore that and go with the ‘there is a god, not one but many’ fantasy. They have even promoted the cherished religious leader, in defiance of his own pronouncements, to the status of a god and regard him as always having been one, fully paid-up and card carrying.

    Doesn’t this look as if Buddhists in SL in general have rejected the teachings of Buddhism in favour of more of a Hindu belief system? So much for the duty as guardians of Theravada Buddhism! Or is this also a despicable western conspiracy?

    (I know you Mr Yapa prefer to disregard the ritualistic aspects of the religion, but that also is additional evidence of the above I think)

  • BalangodaMan

    Mr Yapa,

    To add to the excellent observations of my woman-like western co-conspirators (LOL!) you have so far come out with 2 key reasons for choosing one religious ideology above all others.

    viz.
    (1) all things are caused by many other things and that they can be grouped into 5 broad groups.
    and (2) that harming another is not a decent thing to do.

    I’m sure many of the ‘undecideds’ coming across this thread as well as hardened non-believers will immediately head towards the nearest fashion store for their yellow robes and announce that they won’t be home for dinner any more.

  • God

    Heshan my child

    So you are happy with your singularity and you think it is Me! OK, child think for a moment that I was that singularity who created the universe, but do you expect Me to listen to all your teary eyed complaints of how you lost at the stock market, how you lost your girl friend in the college and why you cheated on your wife and find solutions for you? Do you think I have time to grant your wishs for a 16 wheel Limosine, and a condo in the suburbs?

    I sent my servants to look after my orchad on earth. My children -the spoilt brats they are- humiliated and tied them. Then I sent my own son Isa and what did you people do to him? You sinners crucified him! See what happened to you after that! You lost your promised land. This may imply that only the Jews are my children! I don’t want to comment on that!

    Then I sent you Heshan, to preach the Gospel with a modern touch. See what the sinners of the calibre Wijayapala, Yapa, and Longus did to you? They stretched your nurones to the breaking point and I can see your agony in trying to defend Me and My existence!

    You will be definitely looked after well when you come here, son. You will be given my left side seat to eat your divine “wafers”

    Those sinners will be put to the eternal flames of hell

    Address me by my “name” when you write…

  • longus

    Heshan

    Good that you talk about quantum mechanics at the beginning of the universe. What are those quantum fluctuations anyway? Those created the subsequent ripples which turned into galaxies. The moment of the “big Bang” itself is another such quantum fluction of a greater magnitude. So ultimately you are there!

    The uncertainty principle states that the position of a particle cannot be a “single point” in space time, because in that case it will have a definite position,thus violates the principle. So what does this conclusion lead us to? A biginning without a “singularity” only!

    Further, does this singularity or your God has a “mind” in order to intervene with the earthlings and answer their prayers? Doesn’t this line of thinking takes you to the same abyss of ignorance as believing in the “myths” of Mahawansa?

    In your response to Yapa you have told that believing in many “gods” in Buddhism is equivalant to believing in a singlr creator god, and you have given the example of four bananas. Your argument was if you have 4, you invariably have 1!

    But the bananas you gave the monkey are “clay” bananas that the monkey can’t eat! Though they look similar the creator God is worlds apart from the “beings of higher planes”. If we ebncounter aliens of higher intelligence can we call them “a creator God’?

  • longus

    Yapa

    The basic features (thrilakshana) in of all aggregates according to Buddhism are “impermanance”,-anitta- “suffering”-dukka-and “soulless nature”-anatta. Out of these three “impermanance” stirs the curiosity of a rational mind. Why does things change? Buddha doesn’t give a straight answer to this apart from saying that it is the nature of the things, that everything that has a beginning should have an end! Even the “gods” of the higher realms vanish after their life span is over. But once again Buddha never says WHY “exactly the things change”
    ( I would have told (if I were Buddha!) that these (the above three features) are not the features if aggregates, but rather “impermanance or decay” is the cause of all suffering and is the only “Great Truth’-not Nirvana!)

    SomeWhatDisgusted

    The science too says that the entropy of everything is increasing. The entropy is a measure of “disorderliness” or chaos of a system., and it is un-escapable truth that everything obeys this rule. Even a star, a galaxy or even a Black Hole cannot escape this simple law. Why does the neutron and the proton decay? What is the real reason for the decay? Even if nothing interacts with it all matter decays. Science doesn’t answer this puzzle, does it? There is nothing in the universe (including the universe) where the entropy decreases.

    It seems to me that both Buddha and science have miserably failed to answer this basic question!

    At the “end of everything” what remains, according to the known physics should be the photones only-the heat death!

    What happens to the photones? Are those obeying the law of entropy?

  • Heshan

    BalangodaMan:

    This is because the existence of a ‘world’ of gods does not necessarily imply that that world has any gods in it. LOL!

    My essential point is that if there is any such thing as “gods”, then the “gods” must be manifestations of a single “god.” It is the most “rational” explanation to the question of who or what created the “gods.” As you have correctly pointed out, there is no point in denying the existence of a creator god, and vouching for the existence of many other gods. Only “god” can create “god.” Evolution cannot create gods (if it could, I’m sure we would know by now).

    Of course, if you choose not to believe in any god period, that also works just fine. But I have not met a Buddhist so far (including Mr. Yapa himself) who deny the existence of devas, and other higher such beings. Buddha was therefore clever to remain an agnostic when it came to such a question, although it seems logical to reason that if the whole god-concept was ridiculous, Buddha would have thoroughly discredited it beyond any shadow of a doubt (an ability which our believer colleagues can surely vouch for). The fact that he did not do so is suspicious, indeed.

  • Heshan

    can provide evidence that the Buddha drew his knowledge from the Vedas,

    Can you name a single Buddhist concept that does not have a parallel to the Vedas or some other aspect of Hinduism? All that Buddha did is extract the mere essentials, which he thought were sufficient for “liberation”, and make a few modifications here and there.

  • BalangodaMan

    Heshan,

    “All that Buddha did is extract the mere essentials … and make a few modifications here and there.”
    You mean he plagiarised? God forbid!

    Well, if he did plagiarise Mr Yapa will surely claim that he was the first to have done such a thing and that science has proved that he did, if not will do so in due course. That no other religion has plagiarised. That we are the best religion in the history of plagiarising. It’s our duty to protect plagiarising from extinction.

    I’d like to see if the Hindus start a class action against the entire Buddhist clergy and sue for 2,500 years of royalties and a prominent acknowledgement before each ‘pirith’ ceremony. And for hijacking the devas and incarcerating them in our temples.

  • BalangodaMan

    Longus,

    “but rather “impermanance or decay” is the cause of all suffering and is the only “Great Truth’”

    (going waaay off topic)
    Excuse me for getting philosophical but your statement above prompted this.
    When we place ‘suffering’ as our main preoccupation in our search for the meaning of life as something we seek to avoid, aren’t we presupposing (with no real basis) that we (meaning our prior existence in an extra-Universe plane) had no hand in choosing the kind of ‘life’ we desire to experience? Meaning – did we choose to be what we are? After all, choosing a scary or upsetting experience for entertainment is not a foreign idea to us – so it is a possibility. It is also true that we have no idea what we were prior to our birth here. Were we, could we have been more ‘all seeing’ than we are in our human existence? I’d be grateful to anyone pointing me to any sources thinking on these lines.

    God is that ‘life experience machine’ that we are all plugged into. We put a Rs 1 coin into it, selected the experience, donned the helmet and lay inside the pod, just like in Avatar. Next one I might try being Jesus. That should be fun, at least until the final scene, but I can always walk out before the end, no?

  • yapa

    Dear Heshan;

    Why are you asking the same question again? There are so many and I pointed out some of them in my last post of lengthy answers to you. I feel like you didn’t see it because, you did not respond to them and also and I feel like you have no knowledge about what were in that. If you really did not see it or you felt like embarrassing to go through it will re-post the relevant post for your reference.

    1. My post of September 5, 2010 @ 8:21 am

    (A): It is funny how you try to make the claim that Buddhism is “original.” Buddha was a Hindu before he was a “Buddhist.”………………………

    (B): Again do you really think you are making any case here. It is true that Prince Siddhartha learnt the philosophies prevailed then in Indian society. It may have given him some wisdom, I don’t deny it. But the “enlightenment” is something entirely different from the knowledge he gained through those philosophies. Really he abandoned all those views learnt from them as useless with regard to the goal he was expecting achieve and pursued in an entirely different path, that ie. “Middle Path” that had never been professed by any philosopher before. Are you going to say “Middle Path” or “Noble Eight Fold Path” was a creation of Hinduism?

    2 My post of September 6, 2010 @ 8:09 pm

    (A): Actually you find the “Middle Path”, “Noble Eight Fold Path”, and all other paths in Hinduism/Jainism, etc. Do you think Buddha was the first to come up with ahimsa?

    (B): You say the Middle Path or Noble Eight Fold Path was their in any other religion? Not at all, May be those words are found in them, but not the substance, the doctrine. One may call stone a coconut, but it does not have the creamy kernel inside. Buddha is the first person to show the Eight Fold Path, which paved the way to real enlightenment.

    Dear Heshan, you didn’t respond to the above and repeatedly asking the same question.

    Heshan, there is a interesting folk lore about cats and their ungratefulness among Singhalese people.

    You know cats cats normally have the habit of visiting neighbouring houses no? During those visits they go the masters/ladies of the houses and it is said that cat is asking them for food saying”Gnaaave!… Gnaaave!! It is also said that then the those people ask whether the cat was not given “Rice ” by his owner. It is also said that the cat replies ” I have never seen single a grain of rice for ages”, you know why?

    It is also said that at home the cat devours all his portion of rice given to him with his eyes closed.

    Did you get the moral of my “folk lore” Heshan?

    Thanks!

  • longus

    Thank GOD for putting your two cents here…….!

  • yapa

    I consider the questions posed to me by SomewhatDisgusted on September 10, 2010 @ 12:50 am as silly questions that has no any significance other than disrespecting, humiliating and insulting respected things.

    He acts with a malicious mind.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear Heshan;

    “My essential point is that if there is any such thing as “gods”, then the “gods” must be manifestations of a single “god.” It is the most “rational” explanation to the question of who or what created the “gods.””

    You are trying to pay a “word game” here. Creator God and the gods mentioned in Buddhist discourses are entirely different “things” though both of them are called by “gods”. Please don’t hide behind words to defend your arguments. It is below the subject matter and the level of the discussion.

    Thanks1

  • yapa

    Dear Heshan;

    You are asking me to show direct reference from Pali canon wrt the rejection of “Creator God” . Heshan that is a well known fact Buddhism is a religion/philosophy based on the belief of non acceptance of a “creator God” or Eeshwara.

    You know there is a saying among Sinhalese people that resembles your request, however I am sorry to tell you, my English knowledge is not sufficient to translate it to English. Please get it translated by a friend of yours who know both Sinhala and English well. Or one of our friends in this forum may help.

    The saying is,

    “Nokerena weda kamata konduru thel hath pattekuth bagayak onelu!”

    Always you can find excuses not to accept truths/things that are nor in favour of you.

    Thanks!

    Thanks!

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear longus;

    RE: your post of September 10, 2010 @ 12:32 am addressed to me

    In your post you have asked me explain about my reference to “help someone to repair his computer” in my post.

    That reference was really about the following ridiculous idea contained in one of the BalangodaWoman’s posts.

    “Religion needs to keep up with modern needs. As I said before, I do not expect people in 2,500 years time to refer to the Windows 7 documentation to fix their computers.”

    Further, with regard to my proposition of Dhammapada Stanza for the discussion serve the purpose in a way because, the Critiques of Buddhism in the forum prefers to criticize Buddhism at a general level not going deep into it for their safety as they know that in- depth analysis of Buddhism would pave the way for them to accept that it cannot be kept together in the same basket with other religions. Despite all the requests they kept to superficial criticisms of Buddhism not to dispute their belief/ view that there is no significant difference in Buddhism than other religions. I made several attempts to bring them to an in- depth discussion, but they avoided all of them by limiting the discussions to advantageous places/ subject areas for them.

    I know that Dhammapada is mainly concerned about “Morality”, a concept that is not alien to other religions. Still you can show that the morality in Buddhism is no same as the moralities found in other religions. You can show the “uncontradictory nature, both temporal and spacial universality of that morality,
    consistency and the pointedness to its supreme goal etc… etc…, which are more or less lack in the moralities found in other religions.

    Even by comparing Moral Systems in other religions with of the Buddhism would show that it is a religion with a difference. By comparing parallel systems in other religions with Buddhism too is a way to choose the better “pedigree”.

    But I am sure as usual those big mouthed critiques will again run away from it as usual.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    My three ” Thanks” in the post of September 11, 2010 @ 7:16 am was a mere mistake. Sorry!

  • yapa

    Dear longus;

    “It’s impossible according to many researchers that such knowledge originated in the normal process of trial and error, as sits beyond their day to day requirements-who wants to know the centre of our galaxy if it doesn’t feed them?- So, all this is apeculative science,but maybe our narrow scope of science still cannot see the things that lie just beyond its scope!”

    This should be the right kind of thinking any person with some intelligence should have regarding the nature of the world. But swollen headed idiots who had some outdated deterministic viewpoint through their outdated thinking think that everything should be able to sent through their smoke pipes and if not they are have no validity. A tunnel vision has developed in these people due to this little knowledge of theirs.

    They try to see the world with their little eyes!

    They are still infants.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear longus!

    “It seems to me that both Buddha and science have miserably failed to answer this basic question!”

    It is true that Buddha has not answered the above question. Not only that Buddha has avoided answering some questions when asked from him. Further, he has accepted that he has preached only a few things (Dhamma) and the amount of untold Dhamma is more, equating the Dhamma preached by him to the leaves in the hand of a Bikku and the untold Dhamma to the leaves in the jungle. Buddha has limited his discourses to the things that are essential to his ultimate goal, that is giving the beings the Dhammas that are necessary to liberate them. All the doctrines of Buddha are pointed to this focus alone and the Buddha didn’t waste his time going out of the objective. Therefore there are many things that Buddda has not touched. Therefore, not touching of any subject I suppose does not tantamount to any failure. If one can find something wrong in which he has preached, that is definitely “a miserable failure”, of the Buddha. That is why I have been continuously asking anybody to analyse and see whether there is something wrong in what the Buddha has said. Buddha has invited all to come and explore his doctrine, as Venerable Dr. Rahula Thero has pointed out in What the Buddha Taught,

    “Buddhism is always a question of knowing and seeing, and not that of believing. The teaching of the Buddha is qualified as Ehi-Passiko, inviting you to come and see, but not to come and believe.”

    I think the question you have referred is one the Buddha has named Avyakatha, which has no help to the liberation of people, but may act against that purpose, as unending speculations made on it would deviate his disciples from their real objective.

    Really, the Buddha did not preach his doctrines to fulfill the unending curiosity and the balance the demand and supply as once you have said to Heshan. A Buddha does not come to this world to dance according to the tunes of everybody as many of our critiques expect. He does not cater to the materialistic consumer needs of those idiots.

    Thanks!

  • SomewhatDisgusted

    Dear Longus,

    I have no problems with what you are speculating. However, we don’t live our lives according to speculative science, we live our lives on established science. Speculation is a wonderful tool in investigating possibilities. But it’s another matter altogether to believe that stuff is the gospel truth. It’s an even stranger affair to believe wholeheartedly and without question *all* the speculations of a philosopher (deified by his followers as some omniscient entity with supernatural powers) who lived 2500 years ago. One has to ask, why do such people not give an equal amount of weight to speculations in Shilboot or the speculations in Hinduism or even speculations in string theory? In that question lies the answer to the origin of “belief”.

    Dear Mr. Yapa,

    Mr. Yapa, as everyone would have noticed, has once again evaded the question.

    Do you do do you not believe Mr. Yapa, that the Buddha came to Sri Lanka on 3 occasions, and on one of these occasions, placed an oversized footprint on top of a mountain and declared the Sinhala-Buddhists the guardians of the Dhamma?

    If this is what you believe Mr. Yapa, why are you having a problem with standing by them and declaring the truth?

  • BalangodaMan

    Mr Yapa,

    “and pursued in an entirely different path, that ie. “Middle Path” that had never been professed by any philosopher before.”

    If you asked 100 people of 500BC what they would consider to be ‘living a moral life’ I bet all of them would have mentioned all of the 8 though not all by each of them and not necessarily in the same order. So what do you exactly mean by ‘unique’ and ‘original’?

    Enlightenment
    —————-
    “the Eight Fold Path, which paved the way to real enlightenment.”

    Pure speculation, M’lad. For a start ‘enlightenment’ itself is not defined.

    Mr Yapa, can you direct me to a definitive source where this Holy Grail called ‘enlightenment’ is explained, differentiated from other similar concepts, and preferably if we can see it in action today that would be very nice. For example, how is it different *IN FUNCTION* from Mohammed receiving the word of god and Jesus having direct access to god via cell phone?

    What do I have to do to become ‘enlightened’?

    Unique Religion
    —————-
    I agree that Buddhism cannot be put in the same basket as other religions, for this reason and this alone. Mr Yapa, *your* parents are Buddhists. Other religions are those of people who *you* have been taught to despise. Period. Great example of great teachings at work, what?

  • SomewhatDisgusted

    Dear Longus,

    RE: “It’s impossible according to many researchers that such knowledge originated in the normal process of trial and error, as sits beyond their day to day requirements-who wants to know the centre of our galaxy if it doesn’t feed them?”

    Yes, but what knowledge of what the Buddha said is *impossible* to have originated from a normal process? I went through the “Maha Sihanaada Sutra”. I couldn’t find this story about a model of a universe which goes and on with structures within even bigger structures? But in any case, why would we elevate that to anything beyond speculation? And secondly, why can’t any individual have imagined that, especially under meditation/self-hypnosis? Did you read my own speculations on Shilboot? Why would you reject that in favour of this?

    Now if the Buddha really wanted to demonstrate his omniscience, could he not have told us a quantum physics equation that would have put the entire story to rest? How about at least Newton’s laws of motion? Now there’s something way ahead of his time! Must it always be vague references that could mean practically anything? If that’s the case, wasn’t Nostradamus even more enlightened than the Buddha?

    Also, what about all these references to hells and other worlds? Does that mean the Christians were enlightened too and foresaw the existence of Hell somehow?

    And apparently, there are four kinds of generation. What are the four? Egg-born generation, womb-born generation, moisture-born generation and spontaneous generation. Looks like the Buddha missed cell division for example. Perhaps because that was an inconceivable idea in his time?

    Longus, as I said earlier, if a single sentence is taken out-of-context and all the misses are ignored, then yes, the Buddha was omniscient. The problem is, so was Aristotle and Nostradamus for that matter.

    Why are you making so many exceptions in the Buddha’s case and accept omniscience as the answer but you feel that Aristotle or Nostradamus were just speculating? Isn’t it because we were conditioned since childhood to believe that?, just like the Christians were conditioned to believe that Jesus walked on water and Moses parted the seas? Aren’t we holding on to beliefs and wishful thinking that we can’t shed in adulthood, just like Christians can’t shed their faith in Jesus? If you say no, I ask again, why so many exceptions for the Buddha only?

  • yapa

    “If this is what you believe Mr. Yapa, why are you having a problem with standing by them and declaring the truth?”

    Don’t speculate about my thinking. I don’t like speculating about my thinking. I have no problem about doing anything to really I have said.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    “Longus, as I said earlier, if a single sentence is taken out-of-context and all the misses are ignored, then yes, the Buddha was omniscient. The problem is, so was Aristotle and Nostradamus for that matter.”

    Instant sweeping generalizations, this has been the main problem with you. One minute instant conclusions on anything.

    ” Now if the Buddha really wanted to demonstrate his omniscience, could he………”

    Do you think the Buddha as a magician who wants to demonstrate things? You have to learn basics.

    “However, we don’t live our lives according to speculative science, we live our lives on established science.”

    We know that consumerist materialists only interest about living. But knowledge and many other things are not only about living.

    ” And secondly, why can’t any individual have imagined that, especially under meditation/self-hypnosis? Did you read my own speculations on Shilboot? Why would you reject that in favour of this?”

    Yes! I have seen your name also mentioned in the same status as the Buddha in all the books and websites. What is the difference between the Buddha and SomewhatDisgusted? That is your high mentality. Pooh!

    ” Looks like the Buddha missed cell division for example. Perhaps because that was an inconceivable idea in his time?”

    How do you say that the Buddha missed it? Arbitrary speculations.

    ” Why are you making so many exceptions in the Buddha’s case and accept omniscience as the answer but you feel that Aristotle or Nostradamus were just speculating? Isn’t it because we were conditioned since childhood to believe that?”

    You don’t have to blindly speculate like this if you put some effort to learn Buddhism at least some effort similar to what you have put to humiliate it. Your arguments are based on randomness only. You have no knowledge that there can be weighted events. Application of general knowledge to each and everything is or poking the nose to each and every unknown corner is your problem. You need some basic knowledge to explore deep into subject areas. Just questioning or doubting capability is not sufficient.

    Thanks!

  • SomewhatDisgusted

    Dear Heshan

    Re: “no one has ever been able to disprove the existence of God, which is why the non-existence/existence argument never ends.”

    No one has been able to disprove the existence of unicorns, so I think you’ll agree that the non-existence/existence argument has nothing to do with disproving god per se. Instead, it has everything to do with some people insisting on salvaging their infantile beliefs even in adulthood. You and I both agree that the god of the bible is as nonsensical as Zeus, or any other mythical gods that predated them, so there is really no argument there.

    The god you are talking about, on the other hand, is a philosophical god who is only god in name, and not in any other conventional sense of the word. As such, it could even be called an Einsteinian god, or to avoid confusion, better named “nature”. Such a god does not heed our prayers or need our genuflections on a daily basis. Such a god, or nature, simply represents the unknown and no one needs to argue about the existence/non-existence of the unknown.

  • yapa

    “Looks like the Buddha missed cell division for example. Perhaps because that was an inconceivable idea in his time?”

    Ridiculing what you don’t know without any hesitation is one of the other competencies you have. You don’t know any other way to treat them. Ridiculing is one of the main strategies you use to undermine others’ ideas. Please learn to rely on the contents instead of fowl tactics. Learn to play a fair game.

    Thanks!

  • BalangodaMan

    Mr Yapa,

    If, as you say, principles of morality were well established for thousands of years and the Buddha described them in his doctrine … in the same way, coconuts were known about for thousands of years. So if someone describes coconuts in detail does that person achieve absolute ownership of all coconuts and the intellectual property rights in that description?

    Miracles
    ————-
    Mr Yapa, I have this question for you !
    “Do you or do you not believe Mr. Yapa, that the Buddha came to Sri Lanka on 3 occasions, and on one of these occasions, placed an oversized footprint on top of a mountain and declared the Sinhala-Buddhists the guardians of the Dhamma?”

    And this one on ‘enlightenment’, which seems to be the pivotal point in the bona fide of these pronouncements.
    How did the Buddha’s contemporaries know that he has become ‘enlightened’? And what did they think that meant? Specifically, do you believe that he performed ‘miraculous’ acts, any visible and obvious and verifiable departures from normal behaviour that convinced his peers? What such events are recorded (on which you rely)?

    In your estimation, how many people throughout history have claimed to have supernatural insights, direct link to god, been enlightened? What do we do with such people in the present day when they reveal themselves? (David Koresh, David Icke, Jim Jones, L Ron Hubbard for starters, and many more in psychiatric care)

    Mr Yapa, have you yourself experienced even the beginnings of this Holy Grail called ‘enlightenment’ applied in this context? If so how? If not why not? Do you expect to, and when?

    Appreciate you sharing this important knowledge with us.

  • Heshan

    longus,

    The uncertainty principle states that the position of a particle cannot be a “single point” in space time, because in that case it will have a definite position,thus violates the principle. So what does this conclusion lead us to? A biginning without a “singularity” only!

    The singularity is spaceless, massless, timeless, and has infinite energy. In other words, the singularity exists outside of spacetime. Furthermore, HUP states that at extremely small sizes, the notion of “space” disintegrates all together. So you cannot claim that the singularity violates HUP.

    “In 1968 and 1970, they published papers in which they extended Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity to include measurements of time and space. According to their calculations, time and space had a finite beginning that corresponded to the origin of matter and energy. The singularity didn’t appear in space; rather, space began inside of the singularity.”59

    http://www.big-bang-theory.com/

    But the bananas you gave the monkey are “clay” bananas that the monkey can’t eat! Though they look similar the creator God is worlds apart from the “beings of higher planes”. If we ebncounter aliens of higher intelligence can we call them “a creator God’?

    Why do these higher planes need to exist at all? And who created these other “beings” – evolution certainly didn’t!

  • Heshan

    Dear Yapa:

    You are asking me to show direct reference from Pali canon wrt the rejection of “Creator God” . Heshan that is a well known fact Buddhism is a religion/philosophy based on the belief of non acceptance of a “creator God” or Eeshwara.

    I asked you to quote Buddha where he rejected the existence of God. So far you have been unable to do it.

    You know there is a saying among Sinhalese people that resembles your request

    No doubt there are many sayings among Sinhalese people, but I am more interested in the sayings of Buddha. Particularly one saying involving the existence of God. : )

    I think you said your English isn’t good… but it seems you have no problem quoting Dhammapada.

    Anyway, Mr. Yapa, I do not wish to press the matter further. We will accept that you are unable to prove the Buddha was an atheist, not an agnostic, and leave the matter there. Thank you for your responses.

  • Heshan

    longus,

    If we ebncounter aliens of higher intelligence can we call them “a creator God’?

    Okay that’s a classic. So you believe in aliens, but not God.

  • Heshan

    Somewhat Disgusted,

    No one has been able to disprove the existence of unicorns, so I think you’ll agree that the non-existence/existence argument has nothing to do with disproving god per se.

    It depends on how you define unicorn and how you define God. If you define a unicorn as a flying horse, then yes, we can state with sufficient certainty that unicorns have never existed. If you define God as the infinite energy present at the moment of the Big Bang Singularity, however, then it’s not possible to really “disprove” such an existence. Every process in nature involves some buildup/transformation/exchange of energy. Yet energy itself remains hidden. Yet we know that it has existed and has always existed. Conclusion: you cannot use unicorns as a means by which to disprove the existence of God.

    You and I both agree that the god of the bible is as nonsensical as Zeus, or any other mythical gods that predated them, so there is really no argument there.

    Well, it’s hard to dispute the claim that the mere belief doesn’t hurt. The Jews are probably the most successful people around today. A lot of the promises in the Old Testament portion of the Bible, regarding the fate of the Jews, have actually been fulfilled.


    The god you are talking about, on the other hand, is a philosophical god who is only god in name, and not in any other conventional sense of the word. As such, it could even be called an Einsteinian god, or to avoid confusion, better named “nature”. Such a god does not heed our prayers or need our genuflections on a daily basis. Such a god, or nature, simply represents the unknown and no one needs to argue about the existence/non-existence of the unknown.

    The impersonal God – yes. For sentimental reasons, humans have tended to desire a more “humane” God.

  • SomewhatDisgusted

    Dear Mr. Yapa

    RE: “Don’t speculate about my thinking. I don’t like speculating about my thinking. I have no problem about doing anything to really I have said.”

    I’m not speculating. I’m directly asking you a question, which you keep evading. Is this “amaravikkhepavada” all over again Mr. Yapa, in your own words? Let me jog your memory.

    Amaravikkhepavada
    ——————
    1. The person who slips away from a direct question such as “Is this A, not A or anything else, telling some irrelevant thing.

    2.He who does not answer, just because it incurs him a loss.

    3. He who does not answer, in fear of insults from the wise.

    4. Ignorant, that answers the way “it is neither this nor that etc…. etc….”

    (courtesy: Yapa)

    So tell me, why are *you* not giving a direct answer?
    Here’s the question again:
    “Do you do do you not believe Mr. Yapa, that the Buddha came to Sri Lanka on 3 occasions, and on one of these occasions, placed a ginormous footprint on top of a mountain and entrusted the Sinhala-Buddhists with the sacred task of preserving the Dhamma for the rest of eternity?”

    Which part specifically do you not believe?

  • longus

    Dear SomeWhatDisgusted

    Although I don’t agree with everything you say here, I admire your independent mind! Some of the answers to your querries by Mr. Yapa falls far below the line. There are Muslim friends of mine who adopt the same line of argueing when questioned about Allah; and they believe Islam gives a perfect explaination of everything! If you question on something, they would say “read the Quoran, and you will find the answer”.But the answer to the particular question that I’m asking is not there. To cover it up they say ,”read more”. The same thing can be told about some of Mr.Yapa’s responses. In that case I don’t see there is any point in continuing this “intellectual intercourse” anymore!

    It is speculative, when it comes to certain things that we have a bias towards. But once again I think one should keep an open mind to accept new knowledge, which may seem absurd at this time!

    When the probability of a certain prediction is for too much to be a result of mere chance it becomes significant. This is a basic thing in statistics. But what about the things that just fall below that critical margin? iS IT CORRECT TO SAY THAT THEY ARE ALL WRONG? In that way how many things are there that science takes for granted.(for example the approximations we use in math, to arrive at important conclusions about the universe)

    I think the basic flaw in us humans in trying to find deeper meanings to life, when the obvious is blowing in the air! -which we refuse to believe!-Listen to that great poet and mathematician Omar Quyyam!

  • wijayapala

    Prof Heshan, thank you for breaking your vow by responding to me! (I hope you did not make that vow to God er.. “singularity”)

    About this “Singularity” nonsense- doesn’t it contradict Christianity which preaches a “Trinity”?? Does this mean all those hundreds of hours Prof Heshan spent singing hymns and praying to Jesus was a total waste??

    Can you name a single Buddhist concept that does not have a parallel to the Vedas or some other aspect of Hinduism?

    I can name three off the top of my head:

    1. anatta

    2. Noble Eightfold Path

    3. paticcasamuppada

    Now the burden falls upon Prof Heshan to draw upon his infinite intellect and find the Vedic parallels to these concepts. Unfortunately he will not be able to draw on the Upanisads given that the Buddha only referred to THREE Vedas in his teachings (meaning that they preceded Upanisads).

  • wijayapala

    If you define God as the infinite energy present at the moment of the Big Bang Singularity, however, then it’s not possible to really “disprove” such an existence.

    Sorry Prof Heshan, but semantics will not win arguments for you. No theist worships “infinite energy” that lacks a will or consciousness. Your ancestor did not convert simply to worship an unending stream of what comes out of your power outlet.

    I recommend Prof Heshan to look at the following HINDU website to get a better idea. (interesting that Jayaram, a theist, has a much better understanding of Buddha’s thoughts on God than Prof Heshan, but that may be due to Hinduism’s more open-minded views compared to Heshan’s Christian fundamentalism).

    http://www.hinduwebsite.com/buddhism/buddhaongod.asp

    I like Jayaram’s exposition because he shows that the Buddha was one step further from even an atheist. Instead of merely trying to claim that God doesn’t exist, the Buddha showed how belief in God actually represents a negation of morality (and causality) and is not really compatible with Buddhist practice.

  • Belle

    Wijayapala,

    “Is it very different from your own logic based on YOUR “fixed conclusion” that the Sinhalese are inherently evil and that the Tamils have always been inherently victims?”

    I see–you defend yourself from an accusation of flawed logic by making up illogical beliefs for the other party? I don’t believe that anyone is inherently evil or a victim, unless they have some structural brain damage. Position and circumstances very often determine one’s behaviour. Many Sinhalese are racial chauvinists because they belong to a majority community in political power and are in a position to dominate minorities. If the Tamils had been a majority with political power, no doubt the racial chauvinism and domination would have come from them. That’s why the Constitution becomes all important–this is what can prevent a majority from being in a position to dominate, and prevent the minority from being victims. This is why political action from liberal sections is crucial.

    “Ok- so in this case, how would you prove the latter and NOT the former for the Tamils regarding the LTTE and its misdeeds?”
    “That doesn’t address my point that anti-LTTE demonstrations were able to be held in Jaffna without reprisal, thus negating your argument that it was not safe to hold demonstrations.”

    Anti-LTTE demonstrations were extremely rare, if not entirely absent in the north during the height of LTTE power. However, there were student demonstrations in the early days up to the mid 1980s and then demonstrations after 2005, when LTTE power was on the wane. The patterns and timing of anti-LTTE demonstrations by SL Tamils suggest that fear held them back from expressing their politics during the height of LTTE terror, and also that Tamils are not politically quiescent since they have been known to demonstrate. Is it not significant that the Pooneryn anti-LTTE demonstration occurred only after the Tigers were defeated there? Does that not suggest that the previous lack of demonstrations in Pooneryn were due to fear rather than lack of anti-LTTE feeling or political quietism?

    “You mean like how the Tamils did not care about the Muslim minority being driven out of Jaffna by the Tigers? If you would characterize that as an ethical lapse, then I would agree that the Sinhalese have also been involved in similar ethical lapses.”

    There’s no evidence to suggest that Tamil behaviour here was an ethical lapse. The LTTE action against Muslims was carried out during a period of LTTE power. Tamils did not demonstrate then, neither against the driving out of Muslims nor against the killing of Hindu Tamils nor Tamil Catholics–out of fear of LTTE. If their failure to demonstrate against this had occurred during a time of peace, then, yes, I would call it a severe ethical lapse.

    “LOL- Groundviews apparently has addressed this point in a new thread “The pathetic capitulation of the organised Left in Sri Lanka.” UTHR wrote a very incisive critique of “labour politics” in Broken Palmyra, the best I’ve ever come across:”

    It’s irrelevant to my point whether the SL organized left has been successful or not. My point is that even having such a movement at all proves that you cannot claim the political quietism of Sri Lankans. Apparently, Mick Moore’s book is about the failure of Sri Lanka’s “highly politicized smallholder electorate” to place on the national political agenda issues relating to the public distribution of material resources (according to the book description on Amazon). He too does not suggest political quietism in Sri Lanka but rather a distortion of politics.

    “Uhh.. why would Sinhala nationalists use violence and humiliation against a Tamil anti-LTTE demonstration?”

    I wasn’t talking about a Tamil anti-LTTE demonstration but asking why Tamils did not come out in Colombo to celebrate the end of war.

    I can’t believe this–you expect Tamils in Colombo to come out demonstrating against LTTE when the LTTE had already been defeated, and when hundreds of thousands of their community was being incarcerated in IDP camps behind barbed wire, and during a time when the suspicion was rife that innocent Tamil civilians had been mown down by the SL Army during the last phase of the war?

    It seems you want to explain away the failures of a majority community that has had the power since the end of the war to change the situation and prefer to point fingers at a minority community that can do nothing about anything except to submit.

    “So now you understand why the Sinhalese have never protested on behalf of their “Tamil” oppressors?”

    I think my position is very clear on this. The SL Tamils never elected the LTTE and are not responsible for LTTE actions. They were held under hostage by the LTTE, just as Sinhalese were. The Sinhalese have clear political motives in equating Tamils with the LTTE and considering the Tamils to be their oppressors. The LTTE were their oppressors, not Tamils. A minority without political power CANNOT oppress a majority community. It defies logic.

    On the other hand, the Tamils do have reason to regard the Sinhalese as their oppressors because they voted again and again for anti-Tamil governments. The only times they voted for those who stood for peace and to end the ethnic conflict was during the LTTE-era, when ethnic conflict became very inconvenient for Sinhalese indeed. Now that the LTTE is dead, the Sinhalese are not exactly coming out into the streets demanding fair treatment of Tamils, are they?

    Tamils as oppressors of the Sinhalese, indeed! Considering your knowledge of the history of the ethnic conflict, you expect people to be sympathetic about a majority community with political power fearing a long-disfranchised minority community as their oppressor. Anyone who thinks so should check themselves into an asylum–not have people like you stand up for them and their perverse beliefs.

    So, no, I still don’t understand why Sinhalese did not come out to protest unjust treatment of Tamils as fellow-citizens during a time of peace. I wonder why they are able to come out to protest against UN desire to investigate SL government and army for war crimes but not to help fellow-citizens get their rights.

    “See that’s the thing, the Tamils actually have NOT been “huddling among themselves.” Oddly enough this is a Sinhala misperception about Tamils and I’m amazed that you’re repeating it. If anything, the Tamils have been divided along many lines, the pro vs anti-LTTE line only the most recent, and in that sense are hardly the monolithic organized anti-Sri Lanka conspiracy that many Sinhalese make them out to be.”

    That Tamils are huddling among themselves does not mean that they are a monolithic community in their political convictions. The anti-Tamil line is not the most recent division among them–it has been there all along.

    “If Sinhalese had a better knowledge of the divisions between Tamils, they wouldn’t have seen them as a threat and things could have turned out differently. On the other hand, if these divisions didn’t exist then the Tamils may not have had to fear the possibility of the Sinhalese exploiting them.”

    Please don’t make excuses for the Sinhalese community. The only reason why a majority community makes out a minority community to be a threat is because it wants to establish dominance over it. A democratic political system would provide sufficient buffers against minorities having too much power. The so-called threat you speak about is merely conjured up to ethically justify their attempt to disfranchise a minority and to claim total power for themselves. It has absolutely nothing to do with the majority community’s perceptions of whether or not a minority community is united or not. It was clear right from the start that the Tamil community was not politically united. The Sinhalese played the game of dominance simply because they perceived it an easy game to win (they did not bargain for terrorists to enter the fray).

    Every community has its divisions, including micro-communities. If you go to a school or a church, you will find people there with divisions among them. Even in a family, there are differences in attitudes and opinions. The divisiveness is not something exclusive to Tamils. Even if the Tamils had been impossibly united, it would have been totally irrelevant to a majority community that clearly desired 100% dominance. The only thing that could have stopped (and did for a while stop) that grab for total power was fear of terror.

    At any rate, these points are moot. The situation in your country has long gone past the issue of peace and reconciliation. Peace and reconciliation actually was never on the cards as soon as the LTTE was dead. Instead of wondering now whether Tamils should be crucified for not demonstrating against the LTTE, the Sinhalese would be better off watching their own backs–watching whether the danger to them will come from their own ethnic community. Ain’t this just such an ironic turn to the so-called end of the ethnic conflict? Perhaps a lesson here is something that the LTTE learned, and which now the Sinhalese need to learn–the impulse to dominate always returns to bite you in the backside.

  • yapa

    Dear longus;

    RE: your post of September 12, 2010 @ 1:28 am

    You have observed that my answers to SomewhatDisgusted were far below the line. I think my answers to B/Women were not different. I think my answers are in par with their questions, and I did so purposely as I knew that their purpose of questions were not genuine. Please see the air of their questions, they have the humiliating and ridiculing shades in their questions. In a debate one must give due seriousness to it. Please see, Heshan posed more challenging questions to me, but why do you think my answers to Heshan did not fall far below the line.

    Dear longus, My answers to them were so because I had the “instinct” to distinguish “Dore handa from p-de handa”. I identified their “handa” from the smell.

    Thanks!

  • SomewhatDisgusted

    Dear Longus

    RE: “It is speculative, when it comes to certain things that we have a bias towards. But once again I think one should keep an open mind to accept new knowledge, which may seem absurd at this time!”

    I quite agree. I’ve never been of the opinion that things should be dismissed offhand. The world we live in is quite a strange one, and I’m all for investigating possibilities. If someone thought that meditation could lead to further knowledge and attempted to do so, I would have no objections.

    What I would protest against, is the kind of blind belief that say Mr. Yapa subscribes to. He has actually convinced himself that asking endless questions is fruitless and we must accept the Buddha’s words as the gospel truth. I think no one would have a problem with such a proposition, *provided* the reasons for accepting it as the gospel truth are clear.

    The only reason Mr. Yapa has to offer, is that some of the stuff that the Buddha said was true, therefore, *all* of the stuff the Buddha said must be true – a clear logical fallacy. It’s obvious that such reasoning would only be accepted by someone who was indoctrinated since childhood to believe this stuff, certainly not a critical minded and rational person.

    That kind of thinking, clear *hinders* furthering human knowledge. After all, no further questions need be asked, all the answers that matter have already been found by people who had “privileged” access to knowledge, in the form of enlightenment, or by virtue of being the son of God, and it’s all conveniently written down in some ancient holy book, at a time when they weren’t even sure the earth was round! Much to our grave misfortune, these phenomena have so far not been replicable either, usually because we are all “sinners” or “we aren’t trying hard enough”.

    This is the general problem with religious thinking. and the standards we expect as human beings in the 21st century ought to be a bit higher! Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of things of great value in the Buddha’s teachings, and I would recommend studying his philosophy to anybody, just as one would study the philosophy of Socrates! But to go ahead and elevate him to omniscience and godhood is simply – unwarranted.

    Unfortunately, Mr. Yapa is a true believer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/True-believer_syndrome) and no amount of argument to the contrary would cast so much as a shadow of doubt on his convictions.

    RE: “When the probability of a certain prediction is for too much to be a result of mere chance it becomes significant. This is a basic thing in statistics. But what about the things that just fall below that critical margin? iS IT CORRECT TO SAY THAT THEY ARE ALL WRONG?”

    Yes. One can’t dismiss such things off-hand. But there are many complications here. Consider for example evolution. It’s random mutation over vast spans of time, subject to non-random selection. The results are immediately counter-intuitive but statistically probable.

    Consider also Littlewood’s law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Littlewood's_law)

    The point being, the truth value of these things *cannot* be commented upon other than through rigorous analysis. I agree with you that ought to be done whenever possible, as long as the matter under investigation is not presupposed to be true. Unfortunately, what we have in Sri Lanka is a bad case of communal reinforcement (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communal_reinforcement) and the truth of the Buddha’s words is already a foregone conclusion.

    RE: “I think the basic flaw in us humans in trying to find deeper meanings to life, when the obvious is blowing in the air! -which we refuse to believe!-”

    Could you please elaborate what specifically you are referring to?

  • yapa

    Dear Heshan;

    ” I asked you to quote Buddha where he rejected the existence of God. So far you have been unable to do it.”

    Why Heshan, you can’t believe me? Upon my word the Buddha rejected it. On the other hand if quote, will you accept there is no Creator God? I did not know that you are such a believer of the Lord Buddha.

    ” No doubt there are many sayings among Sinhalese people, but I am more interested in the sayings of Buddha. Particularly one saying involving the existence of God. : )”

    Oh! my, my!!, Heshan has become a pious buddhist disciple.

    “I think you said your English isn’t good… but it seems you have no problem quoting Dhammapada.

    Anyway, Mr. Yapa, I do not wish to press the matter further. We will accept that you are unable to prove the Buddha was an atheist, not an agnostic, and leave the matter there. Thank you for your responses.”

    See Heshan, with my little English knowledge, I have improved my thinking to a certain extent. But see Heshan, with very good English backgrounds that gossiping woman and the accomplice has not improved their thinking even a bit. But you cannot deny that improvement of thinking does not depend on the knowledge of English, you have developed to be an “intellectual brat” with the help of English.

    However, Heshan I cannot remember I was involved in a debate to to ascertain whether the Buddha was an atheist or agnostic. However, I don’t like to put the Buddha in the agnostic’s list especially because those two, that woman and the accomplice claimed to be in that list. Anyway Heshan, when I meet the Buddha I will ask your question from him and let you know the answer.

    Oh! I forgot, now you are being a Buddhist disciple, you yourself can ask that question from the Lord Buddha.

    May Tipple Gems Bless you!, my friend.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    “What I would protest against, is the kind of blind belief that say Mr. Yapa subscribes to.”

    I have asked you not to speculate on my thinking. Just quote from what I have written.

    You never know such ethics, straw man beater.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    “The only reason Mr. Yapa has to offer, is that some of the stuff that the Buddha said was true, therefore, *all* of the stuff the Buddha said must be true………..

    Only reason?, You and your blatant sweeping whole sale conclusions!

    You are only playing word games, you have no strength other than that.

    Thanks!

  • SomewhatDisgusted

    Dear Heshan,

    RE: “Okay that’s a classic. So you believe in aliens, but not God.”

    Not at all. An alien evolving on another planet is quite plausible, given that the theory of evolution is a general theory which is applicable anywhere. It is therefore, perfectly reasonable to extrapolate from our current data set to conclude that given the large number of planets, life may independently arise in them through the *known* process of evolution.

    God on the other hand, is not known, hasn’t been seen (except by raving lunatics) and it is not reasonable to give him as much probability as even an alien because it’s a completely unknown situation without a known parallel.

  • BalangodaMan

    Mr Yapa,

    “However, I don’t like to put the Buddha in the agnostic’s list especially because those two, that woman and the accomplice claimed to be in that list.”

    That’s great. So we (that’s SomewhatDisgusted and ‘this gossiping woman’) have power over deciding the Buddha’s intellectual positioning by choosing our own. Didn’t know I’d have such power!

    Mr Yapa, doesn’t the Kalama Sutra in some way suggest that the Buddha encouraged us all to be (primarily/effectively) agnostic? Do you not think so?

    Aliens and evolution
    ————————-
    Further to what SomewhatDisgusted said, it is quite feasible that beings of other planets evolved faster than us humans on this planet. Consequently it is possible, even most probable, that some (even many) are at a much much greater level of development than we are at today. Telepathic transportation? It is entirely *improbable* that such advanced beings have *not* visited Earth and our Solar System at some point. It then follows that they are most probably still here (and why not?). Perhaps even merged into us, or may even be invisibly standing next to you. (they may even be participating in this discussion. LOL!)

    Mr Yapa hasn’t answered whether the Buddha said that KRN applies to all beings in the Universe. Could I have lived on a planet in Andromeda in a previous birth where people are many millennia more advanced than us on Earth, where there is total absence of immorality (even though not being practitioners of the Noble Eightfold Path specifically)? Even if he did not fully explain that, how would such a scenario square up with your understanding of KRN, Mr Yapa?

  • Heshan

    Poor Wijyapala, proud product of the Sinhala-Buddhist Government school, proudly displaying his Mahavamsa mindset for the rest of us to have a good laugh at:

    About this “Singularity” nonsense- doesn’t it contradict Christianity which preaches a “Trinity”??

    The Trinity is not exclusive to Christianity. It is borrowed from Greek mythology. As for calling the Singularity “nonsense” it is an accepted scientific theory – unlike, for example, Buddha flying through the air, and Yakka women mating with lions, aka. Mahavamsa.

    1. anatta

    Beginning with Vedantic Hindu philosophy, the Ä€tman — Sanskrit (masculine nominative singular: Ä€tmā) is regarded as an underlying metaphysical self. It is first seen in its current Hindu usage in the Upanishads, some of which date back to 1000 BC. The word “Atman” (pronounced in Sanskrit like “Atma”) is interpreted by some schools as the “Main Essence” of man, as his Highest Self. “A” in this word is a negative particle. One popular, albeit apocryphal, etymology has it that the ‘tma’ of “atma” “Tma” mea …

    http://www.experiencefestival.com/anatman

    2. Noble Eightfold Path

    Dr. Kane seeks to support his thesis by employing a saying of the Buddha. He further observes:
    “What the Buddha says may be briefly rendered as follows: “Even so have I, O Bhikkhus, seen
    an ancient path, an ancient road followed by rightly enlightened persons of former times. And
    what, O Bhikkhus, is that ancient path, that ancient road, followed by the rightly enlightened
    ones of former times? Just this very Noble Eightfold Path, viz., right views … … This, O
    Bhikkhus, is that ancient path, that ancient road, followed by the rightly enlightened ones of
    former times. Along that (path) I have gone and while going along that path I have fully come to
    know old age and death. Having come to know it fully, I have told it to the monks, the nuns, the
    lay followers, men and women; this brahmacariya is prosperous, flourishing, widespread, widely
    known, has become popular and made manifest well by gods and men.’” 13
    This passage is cited by Dr. S. Rādhakrishnan also in support of his view that the Buddha was
    re-stating the Indo-Aryan ideals. Commenting on this saying of the Buddha, Dr. Kane says, “It
    will be noticed that the Noble Eightfold Path which the Buddha put forward as the one that
    would put an end to misery and suffering is here expressly stated to be an ancient path trod by
    ancient enlightened men. The Buddha does not claim that he was unique but claimed that he
    was only one of a series of enlightened men and stressed that the moral qualities which he
    urged men to cultivate belonged to antiquity.

    http://www.bps.lk/olib/wh/wh150.pdf

    3. paticcasamuppada

    Can be found in Upanishads:

    Whatever is here, that is there.
    What is there, that again is here.
    He obtains death after death
    Who seems to see a different here.

    By the mind, indeed, is this realization to be attained:
    There is no difference here at all!
    He goes from death to death
    Who seems to see a difference here.

    Hinduism. Katha Upanishad 2.1.10-11

    Those who see all creatures within themselves
    And themselves in all creatures know no fear.
    Those who see all creatures in themselves
    And themselves in all creatures know no grief.
    How can the multiplicity of life
    Delude the one who sees its unity?

    Hinduism. Isha Upanishad 6-7

    http://www.unification.net/ws/theme079.htm

  • Heshan

    Somewhat Disgusted:

    Not at all. An alien evolving on another planet is quite plausible, given that the theory of evolution is a general theory which is applicable anywhere.

    Actually the theory of evolution is highly dependent on the interaction between the environment and genes. No doubt other planets exist, but the atmosphere of Earth is “just” right in order that organisms may survive. Much of this, of course, has to do with the position of the Sun in the Milky Way galaxy. And of course, the presence of water. Of the 12 planets we know of, only Earth can definitively be said to have water.

    So while it could easily be the case that other planets exist, the atmospheric conditions of those planets is pure speculation. Whether they have enough water and energy (from the Sun) to support life is also pure speculation.

    God on the other hand, is not known, hasn’t been seen (except by raving lunatics) and it is not reasonable to give him as much probability as even an alien because it’s a completely unknown situation without a known parallel.

    Erwin Schrodinger, Nobel Laureate in Physics:

    In the presentation of a scientific problem, the other player is the good Lord. He has not only set the problem but also has devised the rules of the game–but they are not completely known, half of them are left for you to discover or deduce.

    I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives a lot of factual information, puts all our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but is ghastly silent about all that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously.

    I shall quite briefly mention here the notorious atheism of science. The theists reproach it for this again and again. Unjustly. A personal God cannot be encountered in a world picture that becomes accessible only at the price that everything personal is excluded from it. We know that whenever God is experienced, it is an experience exactly as real as a direct sense impression, as real as one’s own personality. As such He must be missing from the space-time picture. “I do not meet with God in space and time”, so says the honest scientific thinker, and for that reason he is reproached by those in whose catechism it is nevertheless stated: “God is a Spirit.”

    Whence came I and whither go I? That is the great unfathomable question, the same for every one of us. Science has no answer for it. –JNC

    http://www.doesgodexist.org/NovDec07/Nobel_Schrodinger.html

  • Heshan

    Dear Yapa:

    Why Heshan, you can’t believe me? Upon my word the Buddha rejected it. On the other hand if quote, will you accept there is no Creator God?

    Most likely, Buddha did not consider belief in God a hindrance to enlightenment. After all, God is not a material object and neither does God exist in samsara. One must meditate upon God before there is any “unity.” No doubt, Buddha the Hindu knew all these things and thought it better to focus on that which causes real suffering. In other words, Buddha the Hindu had no reason to reject the existence of God. In fact, Buddha the Hindu never had a reason to reject the existence of God, because he was a Hindu till the day he died. Buddha did not invent a new religion; those who came after him took the fundamentals of his teachings and turned it into a religion.

    Dr. S. Rādhakrishnan’s most mature opinion on this point is summarised in the following statements:

    “The Buddha did not feel that he was announcing a new religion. He was born, grew up and died a Hindu. He was re-stating with a new emphasis the ancient ideals of the Indo-Aryan civilization.”8 In support of this statement he quotes a passage from the Saṃyutta Nikāya which will be reproduced below. “Buddhism did not start,” he goes on, “as a new and independent religion. It was an offshoot of the more ancient faith of the Hindus, perhaps a schism or a heresy. While the Buddha agreed with the faith he inherited on the fundamentals of metaphysics and ethics, he protested against certain practises which were in vogue at that time. He refused to acquiesce in the Vedic ceremonialism.” Repeating this idea for a third time in the same lecture, Dr. S. Rādhakrishnan goes on to say that “the Buddha utilised the Hindu inheritance to correct some of its expressions.”8

    http://www.bps.lk/olib/wh/wh150.pdf

  • SomewhatDisgusted

    Dear Heshan,

    The fact that Erwin Shrodinger, brilliant as he may be, cannot shed the ideas that he was indoctrinated with in Sunday school, does not move me in the slightest. No legion of people desperate to hold on to their cherished beliefs will affect the truth value of the god argument, which, with the data available so far, is zilch.

    RE: “So while it could easily be the case that other planets exist, the atmospheric conditions of those planets is pure speculation. Whether they have enough water and energy (from the Sun) to support life is also pure speculation.”

    I quite agree. But the point is, evolution by natural selection is not a concept which is intrinsically tied to water or DNA. It is a general principle for how complexity can arise from simplicity through a process of reproduction, mutation and natural selection. For example, the fecund universes idea applies evolution to the creation of universes. We already know and it has been demonstrated that evolution by natural selection works in principle to create complexity out of simplicity.

    Therefore, it is entirely plausible that such a process could take place in another planet if any form of replicating entity is present. Given the “law of large numbers”, and given the mind-boggling abundance of planets, it’s entirely plausible for this to happen. Yes, it’s still speculation, but it’s speculation based on known data. We can reasonably say, “IF a replicating entity exists, THEN natural selection can give rise to complexity”.

    A god entity on the other hand, is a complete unknown, and cannot be commented upon in a similar fashion. It is not reasonable to expect or predict his existence because there is absolutely no parallel.

  • longus

    Heshan

    To believe in the possibility of extra-terrestrial life is the bread and butter of any scientist and all over the world there are radio telescopes directed at the sky to capture any “contact signal” that any alien civilization out there might send us. It is not in any way tantamount to believing in a GOD. You have shown a great deal of ignorance there.

    If there are any intelligent life-formes out there – in our solar system or the 300 odd planets so far discovered out side our solarsystem- they could be quite different from the life as we know. It depends upon the conditions which led to the evolution of those organisms under very different conditions. Once again you don’t need a “Creator” to explain the origin of extra-terrestrial life! There may be non carbon based life out there-eg.Silicon based- or they may not inhale 0xygen and may not need sunlight-for example the ecosystems found in under sea “thermal vents” are totally anaerobic and get there energy by volcanic heat and bigger creatures live there who don’t need oxygen. They convert sulpher based molecules to some other chemicals and act as producers of the food chains there.- So the narrow requirements that you think may not apply to the aliens!

    Now The Grand Finale:

    Heshan, you are right on the spot light now for me to deal the fatal blow!

    By telling that the Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle (HUP) IS NOT VIOLATED BY A “VERY SMALL SPACE” IN THE “SINGULARITY, you have dug your own grave!
    However small the space may be for the HUP to operate it CANNOT BE A “SINGLE POINT” as there will be a “freedom of movement”!

    THEREFORE THAT “VERY SMALL SPACE” AT THE BEGINNING OF THE UNIVERSE, CANNOT BE A “SINGULARITY”!

    a singularity is a single point!!

    (By the way how did you know that the “innitial space-time” was contained in the Singularity? Did your Sainted Grandma told you that?)

    MISTER HESHAN YOU ARE DONE NOW!

    R . I . P.

  • BalangodaMan

    Heshan,

    If there IS a god he would have entered into this discussion and removed any doubt. …. and, oh dear, he has!

    Faith
    ——-
    I thought this thread had agreed long ago that ‘god’ is real to the faithful, and no one else? To the faithful god is very real. Just as the Buddha’s omniscience is very real to Mr Yapa and other faithful, and those who’s emotional security will be much damaged if they dared to question it. It’s just ‘faith’.

    More Buddhas
    ——————–
    I am intrigued though. If the Buddha spoke of many previous Buddhas that he wished to emulate how many Buddhas have there been since? And why do we not have ‘more recent’ revelations from them, ones that maybe we can better relate to in modern times? Could there have been subsequent Buddhas in countries other than India or Sri Lanka? Could there be one in the USA right now? Or one in Afghanistan who always believed himself to be Muslim? Mr Yapa, why is that not possible?

    Heresy
    ——–
    Mr Yapa, the Buddha was born a Hindu (and died a Hindu, we are rightly reminded by Heshan). The Buddha publicly questioned (as you say) the faith of his birth. I (‘this gossiping woman – ie. ‘TGW’) am doing the same. Aren’t I following the Buddha’s example more closely than you who are close minded, Mr Yapa?

    (not sure if Hinduism has penalties for heresy, either in this world or another. Anybody?)

  • Krish

    Heshan

    Many good points! Just a few observations as a response to your points.

    1. Trinity is there almost in every religion, including Hinduism except that the way every religion looks at it is a bit different. In Hinduism, Trimurthy or three-Gods Vishnu, Brahma and Shiva are considered the first 3 Gods with different roles.

    2. Coming to your reference to Anatta (or Anatman in Sanskrit), you are right! But, in Buddhism I am guessing that this is one of the mainly stressed principles, whild in Hinduism (or specific branches of Hinduism) this may or not be so. You may PROBABLY (as I am not sure) come across this in some of Ramanuja’s or Madvacharya’s or even Shankara’s teachings. In fact, the fundamental clash between Madvacharya’s and Shankaracharya’s teachings (1000 years ago) was this concept of “Atma”. However, I have never come across this Anatma being stressed like Buddhism does.

    3. On your points on Buddha vs his being a Hindu, it all depends on one’s interpretation I guess. While Buddha never claimed that he had discovered what is called Buddhism and that it should be propagated all around the world, he was a very genuinely self-made man looking at what was going around and learnt from it. And even better was his comprehension of problems of a common man’s life in this world, although he was born in a “kshatriya” or royal family. While I would have personally wanted him to pin-point the problems of casteism of then (and strangely even now) India, he atleast made a sensible case towards a selfless life process where we all could co-exist. So, I am ok with it. But, he neither said he is denouncing Hinduism or not formally announced creating Buddhism, he was going towards a path of enlightenment in a practical way (I am comparing this with Hindu saints of ancient India going to Himalayas to meditate, trying to discover something obscure). And interestingly, in some parts of India, Buddha (not Krishna) is considered as one of 10 avatars of Vishnu. And you are right that his followers spread it as a separate religion all around the world. I think even Jesus probably didn’t say that he was God etc, like Christians would have you believe. But that is my personal opinion I guess.

    Frankly, to me Buddha’s teachings are far more relevant than what his followers want me to believe. Same is true of Chris as well.

    By the way, how did this re-conciliation turn out to be a debate on Buddha himself? :)

  • longus

    This fool called Heshan doesn’t even know the number of planets in the solar system;my eight year old son does! And also this ignoramus doesn’t know there are in excess of 300 exoplanets (planets circling other stars, and other celestial bodies) since 1994! Go back to your basics and get educated, or do your sermons at your Sunday school.

    Heshan, you cannot quote from Upanishad as they were written after the advent of Buddhism! Vedas of course YES!

    Once again, get your facts right before wasting your time in front of your computer!

  • wijayapala

    Hi Belle,

    Many Sinhalese are racial chauvinists because they belong to a majority community in political power and are in a position to dominate minorities. If the Tamils had been a majority with political power, no doubt the racial chauvinism and domination would have come from them.

    At first this statement struck me as fairly enlightened, and it probably is what you would like to believe. After all, if the problem is not specific to Sinhalese but to any community that is insensitive to the suffering and difficulties of others, then it conceivably would be possible for a non-Sinhala like yourself to find the solution to the problem. Actually if that’s all you said, I would’ve stood refuted and would have had nothing more to say.

    Unfortunately, you apparently did have more to say which undermined your above statement and revealed your inherent racialism.

    This is why political action from liberal sections is crucial.

    If only you were a liberal.

    Is it not significant that the Pooneryn anti-LTTE demonstration occurred only after the Tigers were defeated there? Does that not suggest that the previous lack of demonstrations in Pooneryn were due to fear rather than lack of anti-LTTE feeling or political quietism?

    It’s more likely that the Tamils are as opportunistic as any other community and no longer wanted to back a losing horse.

    There’s no evidence to suggest that Tamil behaviour here was an ethical lapse. The LTTE action against Muslims was carried out during a period of LTTE power. Tamils did not demonstrate then, neither against the driving out of Muslims nor against the killing of Hindu Tamils nor Tamil Catholics–out of fear of LTTE.

    Nice try, but the LTTE did not target Hindus or Catholics as a community the way they went after the Muslims.

    A friend of mine told me how the LTTE tried to enforce saree-wearing while it controlled Jaffna from 1990-95, removing western influence like wearing dresses or skirts. THe problem is, nobody followed the LTTE’s diktat, and the Tigers weren’t able to do anything about it! So much for the “fear factor.”

    From your reasoning, I get the impression that the LTTE served as an effective shield against people like you taking any sort of ethical stand on anything. Does that explain why instead of being at least a little grateful to the Sinhalese for restoring your ability to make ethical decisions (as you clearly were incapable of restoring it yourself), you’re so angry with us?

    However, there were student demonstrations in the early days up to the mid 1980s and then demonstrations after 2005, when LTTE power was on the wane.

    Actually there were parents who protested their children continuing to be conscripted during the CFA. The point is that these protests only concerned things that directly affected the Tamils, not anybody else.

    My point is that even having such a movement at all proves that you cannot claim the political quietism of Sri Lankans.

    Sorry, but movements which don’t mobilize the masses don’t comprise evidence of community political activism.

    Apparently, Mick Moore’s book is about the failure of Sri Lanka’s “highly politicized smallholder electorate” to place on the national political agenda issues relating to the public distribution of material resources (according to the book description on Amazon). He too does not suggest political quietism in Sri Lanka but rather a distortion of politics.

    Try reading the book dear.

    It seems you want to explain away the failures of a majority community that has had the power since the end of the war to change the situation and prefer to point fingers at a minority community that can do nothing about anything except to submit.

    Nope- I’m just showing how the Sinhalese aren’t very different from the Tamils. If you cannot provide a single case where the Tamils as a community stood up for another community- with nothing to gain for themselves- then you have proven no difference whatsoever.

    Considering your knowledge of the history of the ethnic conflict, you expect people to be sympathetic about a majority community with political power fearing a long-disfranchised minority community as their oppressor.

    ????

    So, no, I still don’t understand why Sinhalese did not come out to protest unjust treatment of Tamils as fellow-citizens during a time of peace.

    Ok let me ask you this- where would Sinhalese living in southern Sri Lanka hear about the plight of the Tamils? From whom? The government-run news?

    That Tamils are huddling among themselves does not mean that they are a monolithic community in their political convictions. The anti-Tamil line is not the most recent division among them–it has been there all along.

    Again, ???? Anti-Tamil line among Tamils???

    The so-called threat you speak about is merely conjured up to ethically justify their attempt to disfranchise a minority and to claim total power for themselves.

    Sorry, but the LTTE was not a “so-called threat” for the last 30 years. It functioned and thrived amidst your silence. Thanks to us, it seems you have recovered your voice.

    It was clear right from the start that the Tamil community was not politically united.

    Not when first ITAK and then TULF swept the polls.

    The Sinhalese played the game of dominance simply because they perceived it an easy game to win (they did not bargain for terrorists to enter the fray).

    The way you make it sound there is no hope at all for the Tamils, since we super-genius devious Sinhalese knew all the weaknesses of the Tamils and brilliantly exploited them. It’s a good thing I don’t take you seriously!

    Every community has its divisions, including micro-communities. If you go to a school or a church, you will find people there with divisions among them.

    Except of course, the Sinhalese, since you clearly lack the ability to make any distinctions among us. Glad to hear we’re all equally evil!

    The situation in your country has long gone past the issue of peace and reconciliation.

    This is not the first time I’ve heard you use the term “your country” as opposed to “our county.” Does that mean you’ve relinquished your right to have a credible opinion on SL, as it is not “your country?”

    Perhaps a lesson here is something that the LTTE learned, and which now the Sinhalese need to learn–the impulse to dominate always returns to bite you in the backside.

    Thank you for the advice. Will you at least celebrate then when that happens to us?

  • longus

    Dear SomeWhatDisgusted

    I appreciate once again your open minded views on religion and it’s refreshing to read your comments!

    What I meant by “The answer is blowing in the wind – taken from 1950′ Harry Belafonte classic! – is the answer to the age-old question, “is there a deeper meaning to the life? – or the universe-” is a simple one though we refuse to believe it. All the bubbles of water you see at the foot of a waterfall must be asking the same question ; and all the billions of stars that burn out every second must be asking the same question!

    When the simple processes became more complex (as you pointed out) by evolution their complexity created the question,”is there a deeper meaning or a plan to all this?” in the mind of the human being. We simply happen to be in this universe, in this solar system and on this planet. We were born by a process that evolved over 4 billion years. If we were not here another species would have dominated Earth and would have thought the same way. There could be other species who are totally cut off from us due to the limitations set by the expanding universe.

    Our existence – and the existence of the universe for that matter – started as an outcome of a random process and evolved into a complex structure, increasing it entropy all the way. And then a break down occurs – for unknown reasons, as I explained in an earlier post- and scatters the mater and energy back to the universe. So, is there a deeper meaning to all this? No, is the answer.

    Out of all the religious founders and philosophers, only Omar Quayyam (if you can consider him as a philosopher) told something similar to this, and he was branded as a “materialist”. It’s rather through a deep understanding of the world that he came to this conclusion, and he is in quite contrast to teachers like “Purna Kassapa” who lived during the Buddha’s time and preached a materialism.

    The other religion that comes closer to this conclusion is Taoism in its original form, which describes the universe as” complete” and “perfect” and knows how to correct itself, whatever you do to it. Buddhism goes one step further (than Omar Quayym) in showing a way out of all, which is based on its own conclusions. This extra step it takes in saying about endless cycles of rebirths and how to get rid of it, unfortunately gives Buddhism a few complications. It gives an “ultimate truth” -nirvana- which is beyond the grasp of the mind. Buddha himself uses the “amara viccepa vaadaya” (using negative-meaning words)which he rejected, to a certain extent to describe this state!

  • longus

    Dear Yapa

    In my opinon Buddha did say, that there is no other salvage rather than the salvage of Dhamma and your own hand gives shelter to your head and this implies that believing in an Almighty God is not on. Otherwise he would have said, “go pray for your salvation”!

    But I too am unable to find any direct reference where he “vehemently” said, “there is no God”.(as in the case of refusing the “agni pooja”) But in no discourse did he say that he was a messanger of God or asked the people to obey God. In Mahayana Buddhism Buddha is considered a god who comes closer to the monotheistic God of other religions-a transcendent Awalothikeshwara Buddha. But on the other hand Mahayana and Tantrayana forms of Buddhisms are regarded as later outgrowths. This proves one thing ; how insecure the human being is – the frightened cave dweller!- without the existence of a divine power. Buddhism, as we know was undergoing a natural death in India, before King Asoka gave it a shot in the arm. Otherwise Buddhism would have been another one of the thousands of dead “phylosophies” that the ancient Iadian teachers preached!

    The same goes with the Christianity with the services done by Saul of Tora (St. Paul) who presented it to the Romans in an attractive package with some alterations so that ultimately Emperor Constantine took it as the state religion around 200AD. Jesus the Jew was born a Jew and died a Jew and he preached a modified version of Judaism. What he preached was salvation of the “chosen people”-the Jews- by total faith in his father,God and selfless sacrifice. What Jesus the Jew opposed was the idea that the Jewish priesthood was not accessible to a non-priest like him and also its corrupt hiarachy. And he paid the price for it with his life. Can a dead man rise from the dead? I have yet to see it!

  • longus

    BalangodaMan

    “more Buddhas”

    The Buddha is on record as saying that there were 24 Buddhas altogether starting with a Buddha called “Deepankara”. In this epoch we live in (an epoch is considered a “Kalpa” in Buddhist literature, and I don’t know exactly how many years!) already had four Buddhas – namely Kakusanda, Konaagama, Kashyapa, and Gauthama…..and one more to come. He is called “Maithree” – not Wickramasinghe! – and he is supposed to be born 2500 years hence when the world is in utmost turmoil! At the moment he is having an opulent existence in one of the “higher realms of existence” or Brahma worlds, according to Buddhist literature!

    So, we may not see another Buddha in the near future emerging from the ghettos of the USA or from Afganistan preaching non-violence to Bin Laden!

  • God

    BEHOLD

    I decided to intervene again as some of you are waiting for my INTERVENTION. In fact I heard that there are tea kiosks in Sri Lanka which offer tea while you children are waiting for the second coming of my son, in a church in De-hi-wela.!

    Haven’t I told you in my words in the Bible that Satan can pose as an angel of light with intellectual knowledge, posotive ideas and appealing philosophies; but his intent is delution, entrapment and destruction. And also I have told you in the Bible how I often use evil emissaries to bring judgement or trial. That’s what happened to poor Job! (Job 1;12-22) The poor man lost his7000 sheep,3000 camels,500 oxen,500 female donkeys,lost his house to fire and had his whole pathetic body covered with boils. That is after being an exemplary righteous man who believed in me!

    Threrefore Child Heshan, who came as longus and Somewhatdisgusted (yes,I am!) are emissaries of Satan, who broke off with me over a trivial matter when he was ruling as Poseidon. You are just undergoing what Job underwent in the Bible! Anyway this is what my followers say when things go wrong for them!

    I would quote another Holy scripture ; “You are blinded by your own knowledge”
    – Sponge Bob (Sponge. 4: 1- 16)

  • Buddha

    via Entangled Quantum transmission form Nirvana:
    (the text in ancient Magadha language) reads:

    Ahan the sachcha sachcha tathagatho hum se wan ki namamoko? Ekaan wachchantha ramya sulakkanun, sachchththa Buddhaampi saranan. Kankaachariyanum Kusinara adinnate, aham banthe sabbe rakkathu sukhan! Sachchariya wasalanum!

    Translation:

    Why are you mortals assume things on my behalf, when in fact I didn’t know even half the things that you (awso) argue about? Can’t you remember how I suffered on my final journey to Kusinara after suffering from food poisoning? Don’t you see I was human?

  • Heshan

    Looks like Longus is another product of the Sri Lankan Government school. This clown thinks there are 300 planets in the solar system.

    The solar system consists of the Sun; the eight official planets, at least three “dwarf planets”,

    http://nineplanets.org/overview.html

    In fact, the total number of planets is closer to 12:

    The International Astronomical Union, currently meeting in Prague, has announced a proposal that would boost the number of planets in the Solar System to 12. Under their new classification, the asteroid Ceres, Pluto‘s moon Charon, and the newly discovered UB313 (aka Xena) would join the traditional 9 planets we’re familiar with. Any additional large bodies would also be described as planets. The IAU will make a final vote on this proposal on August 24.

    http://www.universetoday.com/472/officials-propose-12-planets-in-the-solar-system/


    Heshan, you cannot quote from Upanishad as they were written after the advent of Buddhism! Vedas of course YES!

    12 of the Upanishads predate Buddha.

  • Heshan

    Krish,

    Thanks for your insightful reply.


    1. Trinity is there almost in every religion, including Hinduism except that the way every religion looks at it is a bit different. In Hinduism, Trimurthy or three-Gods Vishnu, Brahma and Shiva are considered the first 3 Gods with different roles.

    Yes.. the trinity is actually a god-head. But at least in Hinduism, all three Gods are actually a manifestation of a single god.

    2. Coming to your reference to Anatta (or Anatman in Sanskrit), you are right! But, in Buddhism I am guessing that this is one of the mainly stressed principles, whild in Hinduism (or specific branches of Hinduism) this may or not be so. You may PROBABLY (as I am not sure) come across this in some of Ramanuja’s or Madvacharya’s or even Shankara’s teachings. In fact, the fundamental clash between Madvacharya’s and Shankaracharya’s teachings (1000 years ago) was this concept of “Atma”. However, I have never come across this Anatma being stressed like Buddhism does.

    I agree with you that Anatma is what is emphasized in Buddhism as opposed to the Paramatma. However, my point is that Buddha simply denied/modified a pre-existing concept. It’s much more difficult to create the concept entirely from scratch, whereas in Vedas the concept is created from scratch. Also it should be kept in mind that anatman and its logical conclusion, Nibbana (enlightenment), do not form a complete system of logic. The Buddha chose to remain silent on the question of exactly where Nibbana leads. On the other hand, if we consider the parallel to Nibbana that exists in Hinduism – moksha – no such difficulty arises. This gap in logic, then, is the price that Buddhism pays for anatman.

    3. On your points on Buddha vs his being a Hindu, it all depends on one’s interpretation I guess. While Buddha never claimed that he had discovered what is called Buddhism and that it should be propagated all around the world, he was a very genuinely self-made man looking at what was going around and learnt from it. And even better was his comprehension of problems of a common man’s life in this world, although he was born in a “kshatriya” or royal family. While I would have personally wanted him to pin-point the problems of casteism of then (and strangely even now) India, he atleast made a sensible case towards a selfless life process where we all could co-exist. So, I am ok with it. But, he neither said he is denouncing Hinduism or not formally announced creating Buddhism, he was going towards a path of enlightenment in a practical way (I am comparing this with Hindu saints of ancient India going to Himalayas to meditate, trying to discover something obscure). And interestingly, in some parts of India, Buddha (not Krishna) is considered as one of 10 avatars of Vishnu. And you are right that his followers spread it as a separate religion all around the world.

    Remember that Buddhism at its base is a philosophy, not a religion. Most probably, the Buddha did not even consider himself as a teacher of religion, but rather as a philosopher in search of moral truth and an understanding of the world around him, akin to Socrates or Aristotle. Religion entails ritual, quite often of the excessive variety – which was the difficulty that Buddha had with the Brahmans in the first place. On the other hand, Buddha did create a monastic order, for those who wished to reach Enlightenment faster. It is true that he didn’t Hinduism or any other religion for that matter; this just shows you the cogency of his approach. In theory, practically any religion (except say, Islam which is is more of a cult than a religion) can lead one to the kind of Enlightenment proposed by Buddha. No doubt Buddha realized that as well; had he proclaimed the superiority of “Buddhism” over other philosophies, it would have contradicted the entire doctrine. The different variants of Buddhism are indeed interesting. A lot of them are no doubt due to specific geography and the predominating customs of the place; e.g. Theravada Buddhism. Practically every form of Buddhism has incorporated local customs/traditional folklore-mythology/ etc. into its various practices. For example, a Sinhala-Buddhist monk spends a lot of time studying Mahavamsa, even though Mahavamsa has nothing to do with actual Buddhism. Sinhala-Buddhists themselves often believe in horoscopes, devils, demons, various Hindu deities (e.g. Kataragama) and perform such rituals as Bodhi-Pujha which the Buddha would never have agreed to.


    I think even Jesus probably didn’t say that he was God etc, like Christians would have you believe. But that is my personal opinion I guess.

    Actually, it’s most likely that Jesus did indeed make such a claim. That is why the Jews were so eager to try him for heresy.


    Frankly, to me Buddha’s teachings are far more relevant than what his followers want me to believe. Same is true of Chris as well.

    I agree. The followers have brought in own their own prejudices/preconceptions etc, resulting in the original doctrine being obscured.


    By the way, how did this re-conciliation turn out to be a debate on Buddha himself?

    A very good question.

  • Heshan

    What he preached was salvation of the “chosen people”-the Jews- by total faith in his father,God and selfless sacrifice. What Jesus the Jew opposed was the idea that the Jewish priesthood was not accessible to a non-priest like him and also its corrupt hiarachy.

    Totally off the mark. Nowhere did Jesus say only Jews were chosen. Only Jews believe they are chosen. Jesus did not even consider himself human, rather – divine. Putting him into categories only makes sense in a very superficial way. He had problems with the Jewish priesthood, but that is not the essence of his doctrine. The main point has to do with original sin , and that man cannot save himself. The Jewish priesthood was merely a thorn in the side of the flesh.

  • Heshan

    BalangodaMan,

    Faith
    ——-
    I thought this thread had agreed long ago that ‘god’ is real to the faithful, and no one else? To the faithful god is very real. Just as the Buddha’s omniscience is very real to Mr Yapa and other faithful, and those who’s emotional security will be much damaged if they dared to question it. It’s just ‘faith’.

    I agree that that is the essence of religion, not hard cold logic. Even moral philosophies, such as Buddhism, at their core, are actually faith-based. That