A discussion.

I thought of him as the speaker of the flag

He said

We Sinhalese are the people of the lion.  Our flag represents us. Every point every line has a meaning.  Look at the color of the flag it is red and yellow. Yellow is symbolic of wisdom and derives from the color of the Buddha’s robe.  The Buddha, when he attained enlightenment wrapped himself in a cloth that covered the bodies of the dead.  The bodies in those days may have been bathed in saffron, which was used as a disinfectant. The saffron dye stained the cloth that the Buddha wore and it became yellow.  The color yellow became indentified with the Buddha and his wisdom, which encompasses both life and death… And so yellow became the color of wisdom. While red became the color of life. Red for our lifeblood, our energy, our anger, our hate, our passion, our love, our revolutions, our desires,

He said

The red ground within the yellow border represents man’s instincts contained within a framework of wisdom. The four yellow Bo leaves for the tree under which the Buddha sat as he obtained enlightenment represent the four symbols of enlightenment. Respect for life, compassionate action, altruistic joy and the gravity of that sublime state of mind as you contain within you the discipline of wisdom.

He said

The lion represents society and the sword is the instrument of protection of society.

He said

The sword has three sections the first, the hilt or handle stands for the basis of society, the second, the hand guard stands for the guidance of society, the third the blade, stands for the protection of society

He said

Look at the hilt, the basis of society.  The three points at the bottom are there for the law of dependent origination, birth, life and death. The four petals extending from the hilt represent the fact that every   thing has a form and a name.  , The four petals for land, water, birth and death represents man’s birthright Just as he, as a living being has a form and name, a right to land, to water, to birth and to death and no one can deprive man of these…

He said

This is the basis of the ten royal codes of conduct, the instrument by which society is ruled and is the code for the rulers to live by.

Sharing,
Morality,
Recognition of talent,
Integrity,
Courtesy,
Restraint,
Non-violence,
Non-hate,
Patience,
Non-revenge.

And through non-revenge we protect the right of all to exist.  In non-hate, in non-violence, in restraint, in courtesy, in patience, in integrity, in the recognition of talents, in morality, in sharing. This is the basis of the existence of sovereignty for any society of human beings

And I said

In my world we manipulate both birth and death and do not hold anyone’s right to land and water as sacred.  Instead we value life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Nor do we value non-revenge but rather the right to extract it through the instrumentality of the law!

From : Harrison and Harrison  (1986) The Lagoon Cycle

So, as we fight to protect our symbol and to hold our heads high, it will behoove us to appreciate what this symbol signifies. It challenges all of us who claim to be represented by this flag to be measured by the ideals symbolized by the flag in order to establish our identity.

Reference

Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison 1986 The lagoon cycle: March 23 through June 2, 1985, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.

  • Cheena

    Who the hell is “he” and who gives a dame about what he/she/it says.

    • Who is the dame?

      • myil selvan

        Chandrika! He wants her back!

  • Luxmy

    Ranil
    Thank you for the (timely) posting.

    Much food for thought for politicians, ambassadors, ordinary citizens and above all the voters.

    Excellent material for a lesson on Personal and Social Development in secondary/tertiary educational institutes (speaking as a retired teacher)

  • Luxmy

    Cheena
    Please calm down and look at these again – we’ve had too much of the opposites too long:

    Sharing,
    Morality,
    Recognition of talent,
    Integrity,
    Courtesy,
    Restraint,
    Non-violence,
    Non-hate,
    Patience,
    Non-revenge.

  • Lanka Muslim, UK

    Tell the Sri Lanka rulers to at least govern the country according to the principles depicted by the flag when there will be justice, equality and respect for human values.

  • myil selvan

    The truth is:

    The Lion is a Myth. People of sri lanka are probably mainly of dravidian extraction with some mixing of europeans and others. Hence Tamils and Sinhalese are the same race. need to teach the truth in schools, which will go a long way towards peace.

    • yapa

      “probably”

      “Yes!, probably”, you are diplomatic.

      Thanks!

    • wijayapala

      Dear myilselvan

      Hence Tamils and Sinhalese are the same race. need to teach the truth in schools, which will go a long way towards peace.

      If we’re the same race then there’s no need for devolution or anything else that emphasises false differences, right?

      • myil selvan

        Actually wrong! We are two different ethnic groups speaking two different languages. The devolution debate came about because of the Sinhala governments trying to sinhala-buddhisize the entire country with concocted false history to back their position. If this didn’t happen this country would have been in better shape. But sadly it has happened hence now we have to talk of devolution.

      • wijayapala

        Dear myil selvan

        Then how about instead of talking devolution, we can talk about educating everyone about the diversity in Sri Lanka.

      • yapa

        Not because one ethnic group wanted a disproportionate part as a separate country?

        Do not twist facts.

      • Gamarala

        Interesting Yapa. So you are agreeable to a proportionate devolution?

      • yapa

        Why not?, from my whole heart!

        Thanks!

      • Off the Cuff

        True Yapa. They want over 50% of Sri Lanka’s Public Property (which is common property), for the exclusive use of about 10% of the population but yet they would glibly talk of equality, with a tongue in the cheek. Trying to discuss equitable land sharing with them is futile, as they don’t know the meaning of equality.

        Myil Selvan,

        How should Public Property be shared when devolving power?
        Using a balanced scale or using a scale loaded in your favour?

  • Ranil Senanayake

    Two comments:

    We should try to give a damn (?) about others opinions as a matter of courtesy, if we do not agree, ?restraint often avoids conflict.

    The Lion is not a myth it is a symbol. This symbol signifies adherence to social and personal attributes such as :
    Sharing,
    ?Morality, ?
    Recognition of talent,
    ?Integrity, ?
    Courtesy, ?
    Restraint, ?
    Non-violence, ?
    Non-hate, ?
    Patience, ?
    Non-revenge.

    The existence of individuals and societies demonstrating these attributes today may indeed be a myth!

    However, it is a great goal to aim for!

    • kadphises

      The earlier comment subject to Yapa and Gamarala, although I cant remember if Gamarala can be labeled far-right.

      Ranil, Maybe they should have picked a different animal to symbolise those virtues 😉

      Sharing – I thought the Male lion always ate first regardless of who killed the wildebeast

      ?Morality – They kill the young fathered by rival males, ostracise others with little reason. Might is right in the lion world from what I know of it.

      Recognition of talent – only talent for killing is recognised.
      ?Integrity, – this is surely antrhopomorphism?
      Courtesy, – not in the movies I’ve seen.
      Restraint – certainly not!
      Non-violence – Surely a non-violent lion is an oxymoron?
      Non-hate, – we shouldnt anthropomorphise
      Patience, – ditto
      Non-revenge – ditto

      What really is the purpose of a flag then? It is mainly for those who dodge their taxes, never give to a charity, dont feel for their environment or more unfortunate countrymen, to wave about at cricket matches and show the world how patriotic they are.

  • Ranil Senanayake

    Apologies for my machine putting question makes where commas appear.

  • kadphises

    Wow!! Does this mean we have a consensus between the Sinhala far right and the Tamil far right??

  • Ranil Senanayake

    Dear Kadphises,
    The attributes of the animal called a Lion has been made clear to us fairly recently through books, Discovery etc. We should give the designers of the symbol the consideration that it was done some 3000years before the movies and our current understanding of the animal’s behavior. If seen in this way one begins to understand that it is a symbol designed to covey an even older idea called the ‘Dasa Raja Dharma’ which outlines the qualities of an ideal person and thereby a yardstick to measure leadership with . So the symbol should not matter the message should. The message is one of tolerance and the qualities that I hope most of us subscribe to. The lion symbol is merely the messenger; there is nothing to be gained by in shooting at it.