The middle finger to the middle-path in Sri Lanka

A week ago, we disgraced ourselves. Racist louts, some in the garb of Buddhist monks, engaged openly in speech and behaviour so violent, even those who led it were forced to suggest later the footage broadcast on TV and now globally viewed on YouTube was doctored.

This was, of course, not the case.

Sri Lanka’s tryst with militant Buddhism is not new. It is the fundamental basis of the JHU, which is today deeply embedded in government. As much as the telegenics of last week’s outrageous violence shocked many, it is this very behaviour that most temple-going Buddhists in Sri Lanka have nurtured over decades, and continue to unquestioningly venerate when they support, through silence, word or deed, this violence.

Much remains to be said by the President, government and media on Dambulla. Not so long ago, a journalist – J.S. Tissainayagam – was jailed, tortured and humiliated for writing the government thought incited communal hatred. No such action will even be contemplated against the Mahanayaka of the Rangiri Dambulu chapter Inamaluwe Sumangala thero.  The Ven. Thero joins the ranks of good Buddhists like Mervyn Silva, openly protected, supported and championed by the Rajapaksa regime. Sadly, it is not over Dambulla’s priapic priests that we must be most ashamed about, but our President, his family and government.

There is some hope. On Thursday, fearing more violence, I created a simple blog for people to register their opposition to the soi-disant Buddhism on display in Dambulla. The responses, available online, are a humbling counterfoil to a saffron rage, and showcase a Sri Lanka that’s extremely diverse and refreshingly different. Excerpts from a few I reproduce below. There are literally hundreds more online.

Read them, and I urge you, add to them.

I am Mohamed Niyas, a Sri Lankan Muslim, professionally a Teacher. I respect all religions and beliefs in this country and teach the same to all my students of all ethnic groups. I was shocked how can the monks who always preach saamaya, maithriya, karunaawa like great philosophies could lead such a racist mob in Dambulla. I feel relieved to know many of Buddhist people in Sri Lanka condemned this violence.

fahima7s: This is the first time the violence towards other faiths has been filmed so vividly. Many churches and kovils have also been bombed and burnt in the past. What do these Buddhist monks want? Don’t they know that our culture is enriched with other faiths? We have already lost a lot of our Burghers and Tamils and we are impoverished by it. Even if we build highways and prosper economically, we will still be poor. Cannot Buddhism flourish without the Buddhist monks protecting it?

Iranganie H. Fernando: Have these perpetrators of this incident of shameful violence learnt nothing from the terrible experiences of the past 30 years? All religions teach love & compassion to all beings and respect for each other… there must be action & strategies to prevent such abominable behaviour. I am a 73-year-old woman who grew up in a mainly peaceful society in pre & post independent Sri Lanka… Certainly these horrific acts of violence are not in my name!

Maithri: During the war, the government tried to show the world and the country that SL is a nation of cultural and religious diversity. And I believed in it, and to an extent that is still true. But this whole thing has just gone to show that the government don’t care about that unless it is in their own interest. Shameful behaviour from them, and members of the sangha who should really know better.

My name is Chhimi Tenduf-La. I am not Sri Lankan but I am embarrassed. I am proud to live in this amazing country and, for the most part, I think you would be hard pressed to find nicer people than Sri Lankans anywhere in the world. Most foreigners would say this (except, to be honest, when driving). The actions of this mob, and the official response which as good as sanctioned it, is very sad indeed. We can only be proud of the brave woman in the video who stood up to these bullies. She is a Sri Lankan. Not really sure what the other people are.

David Blacker: Some of us fought, killed, died, were crippled, and watched our friends die beside us so that this country would remain united and free. We did not do it so that another bunch of violent extremists could divide our country again in the name of religion; nor for you, the government, to support it.

###

Published first in the print edition of The Nation, 29 April 2012.

  • darshana

    A few questions here:

    When theros like Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thero or Tibetan S. Mahinda Thero fought for Sri Lanka’s independence would you brand them racists as well? Now, I’m sure you will give an answer that I’m trying to compare Apples to Oranges, but am I?

    Where were you or anyone of you when Buddhis statues were destroyed using rocket launchers – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYYBlPWYb7Y

    Oh I guess, it’s OK now, since it happened soo long ago.

    Are you complaining that this was a protest instead of rocket launchers being used? Oh, the irony of this being branded as violence. Spend a few more minutes to understand what the middle path means.

  • http://srilankalandoftheblind.blogspot.com/ PresiDunce Bean

    Thumbs up Groundviews for the reply to darshana’s questions.

    There are 2 reasons for why Sinhala Buddhist racism has flourished in Sri Lanka since nineteenth century.

    The British were the Biggest culprits for translating the Mahavamsa. Because the Mahavamsa was written in Pali, few Sinhalese could read it until its translation by the British who made the Mahavamsa a widely distributed work, publishing an English translation of the first part of the Mahavamsa in 1837. The British governor also commissioned the Sinhalese translation of the original and its updates. The Mahavamsa encouraged the renewed belief that Ceylon has a special Buddhist destiny. In the nineteenth century, after the Mahavamsa was translated into English and Sinhalese, it became much more widely known. The Mahavamsa`s legends about the ancient heroes and kings encouraged a feeling among the majority Sinhala Buddhists who to this day have a minority complex, that “to be truly Sri Lankan was to be a Sinhalese and to be true Sinhalese was to be a Buddhist.” This led to the belief that Tamils, Muslims, Sinhala Christians, Burghers ect. could never be fully Sri Lankan.

    Anagarika Dharmapala was the other culprit responsible for popularizing the faulty impression that Tamils and Sinhalese had been deadly enemies in Sri Lanka for nearly 2000 years. He often quoted the Mahavamsa as if it were a completely factual account, and his favourite passages were those that made the Tamils sound like pagan invaders who were running the island. Much of his preaching and writing was racist. Dharmapala insisted that the Sinhalese were racially pure Aryans, by which he meant that they had racial ties with the North Indians, Iranians and Europeans. He contrasted the Sinhalese racial line with that of the Dravidian Tamils, which he claimed was inferior.`

    • Happy Heathen

      PresiDunce Bean
      April 29, 2012 • 5:45 pm

      Why stop with Dharmapala, did you forget about Ponnambalam’s equally detestable racist rants?

      Selective amnesia I guess.

  • kamani

    I am a Sri Lankan Buddhist and such a shame to see this kind of act specially from monks. I saw the footage online and it was so disgusting. Everyone has their own right to believe in their religion.

  • MV

    I too have questions.

    Buddhism is Sri Lanka’s foremost religion. Muslim leaders have backed the Sri Lankan state in the past and they are part of the ruling government. So why are they complaining about the monks’ acts or Buddhism being promoted as the State religion now? Is it political opportunism or centuries old cordial relationship between Sinhalese and Muslims that is being hampered by few extremists?

  • RENU

    These Buddhist monks are a disgrace to the entire Buddhist community, They should be stripped of their robes publicly. At least they should know how to address devotees of any religion if they consider them Buddhist Monks. These people are only interested in making money. It is a shame, the whole world heard what you said to the poor Tamil women, when they pleaded with you

  • PitastharaPuthraya

    Dear Darshana,

    Are you blind to the way this so-called follower of the Buddha’s teaching (Mind you, he is the mahanayaka of one of the chapters of siyam nikaya) behaved towards the ‘Hindu’ woman and his utterance to the divisional secretary?

    He addressed the former as if addressing a sub-human being warning her that he would remove their homes as well without an iota of kindness, pity, or anyother senitment we would expect from a civilized fellow human being let alone from a buddhist monk. He reminds of a Nazi SS officer, who came to a ghetto with his soldiers to round up Jews to transport them to a concentration camp.

    He told the latter that he would return if no solution to the probelme was not given in different way and not with buddhist flags, by which he meant that he would come with some kind of destructive weapons. How buddhist was that? These were the same people (or the legitimate offsprings of people), who organized 1983 Black July, from which we still suffered as a nation.

    I assume you are a Sinhalese Buddhist. Do I have to remind you of the basic teaching of the Buddha? Therefore, do not hide behind the well known methods of dodging issues and confusing the others by replying with more and more questins like a coward. It is good only for scoundrels.

    No body would expect all the Buddhists monks to live in jungles away from civilization meditating all the time expecting enlightment at any moment. It is well accepted that they can engage in socio-politico-cultural issues the human beings face in today’s complex world. But they should always remember that they represent the teaching of the Buddha known to the humankind as one of the greastest of all relegious leaders, who upheld non-violence above everything else.

    Are your trying to equate these buddhist monks with all the bygone buddhist monks of repute, who have done an immense service to buddhism and the country?

    Obviously there is something wrong with our upbringing, which produces people like those whom we saw in Dambulla that day and bilingual (I assume) educated supposedly civilized people like you with vulgar, uncivilized, dehumanized minds.

    • yapa

      Dear PitastharaPuthraya;

      I humbly accept that the behaviour of the particular Buddhist monks, especially addressing that Hindu woman was ridiculous.

      However, I also feel that disproportionate allegations and criticisms are being leveled at Sinhalese and Buddhists in general, in the pretext of leveling them at the particular incident. I also feel that more grave kind of such humiliations and discrimination being pardoned and ignored while the particular incident is being repeatedly highlighted and criticized. Really the intolerance/violence of the nature taken place at the particular incident in Dambulla are not institutionalized social norms of the Sinhala Buddhist society. They are some isolated incidents of some unacceptable informal groups of the Sinhala Buddhist society.But what I cannot understand is the greater violations done with blessing of legal norms or social norms are hidden undetected and going blameless. There is no general social norm in the Sinhalese Buddhists society to resist other faiths.
      But some other other social groups show such institutionalized intolerance/resistance/violence towards different social or religious groups, which are being ignored. It is a pity that some isolated incidents are given such drastic prominence than the institutionalized violations of the greater magnitude. I will list some of them.

      1. In Hindu society, no lower class Tamils were allowed even to enter a Hindu temple, reserved for high class Tamils. This is a institutionalized discrimination and violence against some other social group (in the same society)

      2. Over 100,000 Muslims were chased away in five hours time as ethnic cleansing, from Jaffna by a de-facto authority of the Tamil society.

      3. Almost all the political activist who held a different political ideology were eliminated by a institutionalized organization in the Tamil society. I think numbers should have to be counted in ten thousands.

      4. In Muslim society, no any tolerance for any other religious belief. It is a institutionalized legal and social norm.

      Now tell me in your yardstick who are more eligible for criticisms, allegations? Sinhala Buddhist society or the other societies that have institutionalized intolerance?

      What is the reason for this unprecedented behaviour?

      Are we lacking objectivity? Are we some victims of the natural principle, “Thama dos nodakne, merama dosma dakne”? (It is the nature not to see my faults but to observe others’)

      Thanks!

      • muzammil

        Yapa,just an answer to point no.4 in your list from late Al-Haj
        Mohideen Baig.EMAWITA PAWASANU MUWIN OBE “BUDHDHAN SARANANG GACHCHAMI”.
        Did muslims throw stones at him?All muslims are proud of him and that
        is why his son Ishak Baig continues singing it todate.Look Yapa,you
        should prove you are any better than many.

      • yapa

        Dear muzammil;

        An exception does not rule out a law. I am not talking of exceptions but of the general rule, I think you understand.

        Just because our respected Muslim singer sang so, do you say the whole Muslim world is singing the song alone with him together. You will hear their song if even a picture of Buddha is found in a bag when somebody is entering their countries. That is their “tolerance” back by the Law. What will happen if such a thing happen to a Muslim person at our airport? muzammil will be seen surrounding the airport with their pants tied around their heads, shouting “Allahu Akbar”, the way they did when they murdered Colonel Gaddafi.

        Thanks!

      • PitastharaPuthraya

        Dear Yapa,

        I do not know how many muslim countries would confiscate non-Islam relegious artefacts at the airport. Therefore, it is not correct to generalize this matter because I do not think a country like Egypt would do such things.

        However, I have heard that Saudi Arabia does such things. If they do not tolerate other relegions in their country there are few assumptions we should make before jumping for conclusions and ridiculing people like Muzammil.

        That may be how the Saudis interpret Islam. Saudi Arabia is known to be a Muslim country for a long time. Any country can do as they please as long as they do not violate international laws. By confiscating the Buddha’s picture at the airport they do not violate any rights of their citizens. According to my limited (very) knowledge of Islam they prohibit idolatry. It is like prohibiting people wearing shorts and skirts from entering the Kandy temple of tooth relic. Are you prepared to delclare that by doing so rights of the other people to wear whatever they want is violated?

        It is totally misleading to compare Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka. Our country is a multiculural, multirelegious society for millenia. The Muslims, Hindus, Christians and others do not face restrictions not because the Buddhists are tolerant but because that is their right, which is enshrined in our constitution and in the very fabric of our state.

        If ‘such a thing’ happen to a Muslim in our airport it is perfectly alright for Muzammil to protest in whatever the form he thinks within the accepted civilized norms because this is his country and the state has the responsibility of providing necessary enviornment for its citizen to engage in their relegious practices. Unlike Saudi Arabia, who does not have any obligation to a visitor to engage in relegious practices, which they think anti-muslim Sri Lanka has its obligations to their citizens.

        You seem to be contradicting yourself. You earlier said that we should not judge Sinhalese Buddhists by the actions of bigoted buddhists monks in Dambulla. You seemed to have done the same with Muzammil by comparing him to Gaddafi’s killers.

      • yapa

        Very well, very well Dear PitastharaPuthraya.

        I think we should not be going round the bush. Shall we stick to our argument.

        I will describe the background of argument to you.

        Dambulla incident, I said was hilarious and not acceptable ok?. Then I said it was over criticized by the people who were doing more hilarious things, right? I substantiated my claim. My query was whether that criticism was justifiable or not. I said it is unjustifiable and wrong. That was the story.

        Now, tell me your idea in plain language.

        (It seems that you are trying to white wash thing covering up behind the legal framework of a country. In the light of that Hitler is a totally innocent person, though Prabakaran was a murderer, as his work was not within the legal frame work of the county. Che was a criminal, Mussolini was a saint. Pol pot was a god. They did nothing against the law of their respective countries.)

        Ok!, will stick to the argument, Please answer me to the point. We should not go round and round arguing. Lets finish the job.

        Thanks!

    • Anti-Racist

      @PitastharaPuthraya
      “He addressed the former as if addressing a sub-human being warning her that he would remove their homes as well without an iota of kindness, pity, or anyother senitment we would expect from a civilized fellow human being let alone from a buddhist monk. He reminds of a Nazi SS officer, who came to a ghetto with his soldiers to round up Jews to transport them to a concentration camp.”

      This is exactly what I too was thinking when I saw the video first. Good wordings..

      • PitastharaPuthraya

        Dear Anti-Racist,

        Thanks.

  • Fathima

    To Yapa

    ” In Muslim society, no any tolerance for any other religious belief. It is a institutionalized legal and social norm”

    While muslims may not follow other religions, have pictures of jesus or ganesh etc, tolerance is taught and practiced and so is equality in sri lankan muslims.

  • niranjan

    Yapa,

    Institutionalized social norms of the Sinhala Buddhist society-what are these social norms that are institutionalised? Liberal values do not seem to be a part of the social norms that you talk about.

    Institutionalized? That word sounds interesting.

    “The regime looks hell bent on throwing the ‘patriotism’ bait to the masses. It is being marketed through government ministers and other politicians, university dons, ultra nationalists NGO’s, regime controlled media outlets etc.” -CeylonToday Newspaper of 1 May, ‘It’s accountability, Stupid’ by Vishvagupta page 8.

    • yapa

      Dear niranjan;

      Learned a word from my post? My request is to pay your attention to content of the whole article and give your comments on it.

      Thanks!

  • PitastharaPuthraya

    Dear Yapa,

    Thanks for the reply.

    The first and the fourth of your examples are more generalized in nature and were in the discussion for centuries if not for mellenia.

    The second and third have been condemned by all right thinking people ever since they occurred. Therefore, in my opinion, it is not relevant today.

    The Dambulla incident is totally different from these four examples you cited as it was a group of one ethno-relegious group trying to intimidate and threaten to use physical violence against another ethno-relegious group just because the former out numbers the latter and as a result they happen to dominate the government machinary including the army, police, civil service, parliament, cabinet and the pinncle of the power.

    Say we agree for a instance that all your four examples are true therefore, the muslims and hindus are equally blameworthy for intolerance. Will it justify using violence against hindu and muslim individuals just because they are hindu and muslim? Where does this logic come from? Then just because Jews killed Jesus Christ and some of the Jews in medeival times were usurpers it should be right to exterminate the Jews. After all Hitler was not that bad eh?

    I need not emphasise to you how prejudice engenders suspicioun, violence, hatred, etc. In our society, we have stereotyped the muslims and tamils for long. Even among educated I have often heard the phrase ‘this is typical of ………..(‘one ethnic group’)’. Then I ask them, of course depending on the friendship I have with them, whether they do not have good friends among those ethnic communities. The answer usually is ‘yes’. Then my response is ‘then how can you declare that a particular behaviour of a particular individual represent the whole of his/her ethnicity’.

    The racial and utterly deplorable behaviour of Dambulla monks may not be the prevailing ideology of Sinhalese Buddhists. But how one to know that? Was there any condemnation from the Sinhalese Buddhist leaders? Where were the Mahanayaka’s, other erudite Buddhist monks, so-called lay buddhist leaders, Sinhalese Buddhist intellectuals etc? In the absence of condemnation by the Sinhalese Buddhist establishment in Sri Lanka no body can blame outsiders if they think that it goes with the current thinking of the Sinhalese Buddhists.

    The case of caste difference amongst Hindus has to be addressed by the hindus themselves. Although you may see this as an insult to basic human dignity (I also think in the same way) how do you know that it is the same feeling among the hindus? Did we see any mass protest against the caste system in Hindusm amongst Hindu Tamils in Sri Lanka? It is same as the case of ‘Niqab’ worn by some of the Muslim women. Although some, especially the westerners, see this as degrading to women’s dignity and freedom some of the very muslim women who wear them do not see it in the same light. They think that they wear it simply because they want to wear it. Therefore, Yapa theses things are much more complicated than you think.

    The question whether Islam does not tolerate other relegion is also controversial. Some well prominent Muslim leaders in the world see Islam as a tolerant relegion whereas others see it otherwise. The thinking among the moderate Muslim intellectuals is that their relegion has been usurpured by few extermists.

    As a matter of fact all the relegion including Buddhism say that the heathens (mithyadrushtikas)do not have a choice but the ‘hell’. In that sense all of them are intolerant to some extent. However, we should understand there is a difference of awaiting for the heathen or pagans enter ‘hell’ and putting them by force to ‘hell’.

    Yapa, if there is an unfair and imbalanced criticism regarding the Sinhalese Buddhists behaviour in Sri Lanka it is useless blaming others for that. They should blame themselves for the appalling reputation, they enjoy today.

    • muzammil

      @Pitasthara puthraya,Thank you Puthraya,dispalay of real patriotism.
      As for the question of tolerance of other religions in Islam,one should not take Saudi as the only example but also take Iran into
      account.Iran has synagogues and jews living there.And there’s well
      documented proof in Islamic traditions that Umar Ibn Khattab the
      second Khaliph(ruler)of Islam allowed the christian believers to stay
      in Damascus and keep their church and this was 1400yrs back in ancient
      Arabia under different kind of governence.Once again thank you for your balanced post.

    • yapa

      Dear PitastharaPuthraya;

      “Yapa, if there is an unfair and imbalanced criticism regarding the Sinhalese Buddhists behaviour in Sri Lanka it is useless blaming others for that. They should blame themselves for the appalling reputation, they enjoy today.”

      This final conclusion of yours seems to have originated from a clean slate. No arguments or evidence is provided to arrive at that conclusion. Can you clarify?

      I will answer your post in the due course.

      Thanks!

      • PitastharaPuthraya

        Dear Yapa,

        Look at the violent and militant image of Buddhist monks seen in the public media since 1950s.

        A well-known Buddhist monk conspired to assasinated Bandaranaike and another buddhist monk carried out it.

        1983 riots were infamously initiated by another well-known buddhist monk, who is still active today.

        The anti-Tamil, anti-Muslim, Anti-christian show off of Buddhist monks for many decades. Do you remember Ven. Soma’s anti-muslim utterance in his very popular discourses and his squabble with Ashroff?

        The racist, extremist, bigoted, supremacist and right wing rhetoric of Helaurumaya Monks.

        Compare these images of present day Buddhist monks with srene transcendent spiritual beauty of the Buddha’s image.

        Can any one beleive that these monks are infact the followers of the Buddha?

        The list goes on.

    • yapa

      PitastharaPuthraya;

      “The first and the fourth of your examples are more generalized in nature and were in the discussion for centuries if not for mellenia.

      The second and third have been condemned by all right thinking people ever since they occurred. Therefore, in my opinion, it is not relevant today.”

      The focus of my post was not on the four examples I cited. It was to show some institutionalized norms in some societies, and my examples were there mere to substantiate my argument. You have taken a tree for the forest, my dear friend and wondering in the forest.

      1. Tell me whether my argument about institutionalization of so called norms in those societies are there or not?

      2. Is Dambulla incident such an activity? Was it backed by the law of the country or by any formal institution of the society? No it was backed by a pack of thugs.

      3. My question was which action was more grave, whether an institutionalized activity or a random mob activity?

      That is what I was trying to say.

      I made it easy for you to answer. Now aim your arrow at the target.

      Thanks!

  • http://citizenlk.wordpress.com citizen

    In the absence of a reformative process within the faith, preaching and practice of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, its followers today are faced with having to make a choice between a doctrine of militant nationalism and a philosophy of peace and enlightenment that has not produced a single ‘arahanth’ in a thousand years.

    What Sri Lanka needs is a Buddhist reformation – for ordinary people to open their eyes and question the disparity between the essence of Buddha’s message and its practice and preaching in the land. For all their vices, the Taliban has done more in service of the enlightened man who instructed his followers not to erect his statues for veneration, than have most Buddhists who prostrate themselves before those statues and other worldly attachments in the hope of a cheap ticket to nirvana.

    Granted – not everyone has the clarity of sight or the courage of their convictions to see the disparity between Buddha dharma and the corruption, cast segregation and child molestation that have become institutionalised in the very temples and relics they venerate. Those who fail to see this hypocrisy will consider it their duty to attack those who do and call them heretics.

    • Dev

      Groundviews… why do you (purposely?) ignore the many condemnations of what took place in Dambulla by Sinhalese Buddhists at the notinourname website? There are many people who identify themselves as Buddhists. Why not make a post showing a few of those condemnations.

  • niranjan

    Yapa,

    what are these social norms that are institutionalized? Please elaborate.

    I do not know about social norms that are institutionalized. But there are lunatics that are institutionalized.

  • http://nil Henry de mel

    Yapa,

    Your argument on institutionalization is very valid. Practices, policies etc. do not become institutionalised overnight but gradually over time. If a few unbecoming Buddhists are allowed to lead simple laymen and even politicians and administrators into unBuddhist behaviour, then it becomes a part of the process of insitutionalisation, unfortunately. Like what happened in Hitler’s Germany. Any unBuddhist ideology/behaviour that violates Buddhist principles should be decried and not allowed to take root.
    I agree with you that some Islamic countries follow some practices like in Saudi which are not very tolerant of other religions. However, should we on account of them, promote intolerance, forget maitree etc. and forget the values of Buddhism? Hared should be returned with karuna not hatred – as the Buddha taught.

    • yapa

      Dear Henry de mel;

      Please read my posts carefully. I never approved violence in Dambulla. Neither I approve any other violence.

      That was my message.

      Do you think it was not my message or you do not agree with my message or misunderstood my message?

      I think there should be a uniform measurement for everyone. That alone is my contention in this case.

      Especially preachers cannot be violators.

      Do you differ from it?

      Thanks!

  • muzammil

    Thank you Pitasthara puthraya for your time.

    • yapa

      Traces of PitastharaPuthraya have been vanished to thing air when my arguments were tightened.

      Thanks!

      • PitastharaPuthraya

        Dear Yapa,

        I am still there. Do not worry about it.

        1.Tell me whether my argument about institutionalization of so called norms in those societies are there or not?

        Every society, community, group has their own norms, practices, rituals, beleifs etc, which may or may not be to the liking of the others. When they are aganist the basic human decency others try to control them by various means. Sathipuja in India has been prohibited, in fact, by the British. The Indian government since Nehru’s time have been trying to put an end to the caste discrimination. Sinhala buddhism has its own institutionlized problems which others criticize such as caste discrimination in Siyam nikaya, ordination of children etc.

        2. Is Dambulla incident such an activity? Was it backed by the law of the country or by any formal institution of the society? No it was backed by a pack of thugs.

        If it was an aberration backed by a pack of thugs it should be condemned and culprits should be punished. That day, the mob lead by monks not only violated law of the country but also put Theravada Buddhism into disrepute. Did the law enforcement authorities arrest and charge them in a court of law? Did the ‘guardians’ of Theravada Buddhism initiate some sort of proceedings to excommunicate the ‘heretics’? What was the reaction of the Sinhala buddhist President, his brothers, cabinet, government MPs, Opposition MPs etc?

        3. My question was which action was more grave, whether an institutionalized activity or a random mob activity?

        Your interpretation of the ‘Dambulla incident’ as a random mob actitivity is factually incorrect.

        A group of wild life officers who were serching for poachers assaulted by a mob of villagers is a random mob activity.

        The dambulla mob was not random. It was a well organized activity lead by a well-known monk and his disciples. The perpetrators belong to majority ethno-religious group. The violence was directed against a minority ethno-religious group. They were so confident. They knew that no body could do anything about it. They were right. That day the Sri Lankan state with its civil servants, law enforcement agencies and armed forces looked subservient to the monks and the mob. They were armed with racial hatred and racial supremacist ideology. After the incident the perpetrators are still free with no consequences whatsoever.

        Therefore, Yapa, it is futile to try to smudge the ‘black patch’ of shame of ‘Dambulla’ from staining the immaculate dazzling white reputation of Sinhala Buddhism because everybody knows what lies beneath it. When you try to smudge it again and again it spread all over the white fabric making it more dirtier.

        As the majority of the educated Sinhalese Buddhists you had better look the other way around as if nothing has happened.

      • yapa

        Thanks,dear PitastharaPuthraya, for the response. I thought you would follow the example of PresiDunce Beans.

        1. Under my question no.1, I asked about “so called norms”, but you have spoken about some other norms. Never mind you have not rejected what I said there. Therefore I presume you showed your diplomacy. Thanks!

        2. In my Q2 I asked whether Dambullla incident was a such an incident referring to Q1. In other words I asked whether it was a action of institutionalized activity, as in the examples shown by me.

        You said it was an aberration of a pack of thugs, just as I had said in my posts. I agree with all you said under your answer. I also had said them. So, I presume, you have accepted Dambulla attack was not a result of institutionalized norm, to believe the total Sinhala Buddhist society.

        The thugs who involved in the attack I never tried to white wash. What I was trying to say was that the particular incident should not be taken as an opportunity to unduly bash all Sinhalese Buddhists.

        3. If I mentioned Dambulla attack as a “random mob activity”, really what I was trying to do was to differentiate that from institutionalized activities, I described. It may not be a random activity as you have said, but it is not an institutionalized either. May be a more serious than a random attack, but less serious than of the attacks of the nature of institutionalized attacks, I have mentioned.

        I think you have not shown any objection to my crux of the argument, though you differ from my naming the attack as “random”.

        So, I presume you have no big deviation from my points.

        However, additional question do you believe the reaction for the incident in this blog was confined to the real target, was it constructive rather than destructive? Wasn’t there an endeavour underneath to fish in muddy water? In other word didn’t you see some different agenda in a disguised form went underneath, as Rize Yehiya pointed out at the beginning?

        Thanks!

      • PitastharaPuthraya

        Dear Yapa,

        Thanks for the reply.

        We should be able to seperate facts from opinion.

        The fact is the ‘dambulla incident’, the intention of which was so vivid that one would say fact speakes for themselves, ‘res ipsa loquitur’ so to speak.

        Why there has been so much publicity is anybody’s guess.

        I do not think that your are one of the ‘conspiracy theorists’in Wimal Weerawansa school.

        Firstly most of the crticism has been generated from the inherent goodness of the human mind to protect oppressed, less-privileged, minotiry, poor, children, women, disabled, old etc. Secondly it was the dislike of thuggery, authority, arrogance etc. Thirdly, it was the genuine concern of the future of our country fearing another episode of racial violence. Fourthly, it was a reaction against Sinhala Buddhist ideology of exclusion of others. Fifthly, it was the dislike of the archaic and obsolete feudal reactionary institute of Sinhala Buddhist Church. Sixthly, it was the disapproval of vulgar, uncivilized, indecent, unbuddhist behaviour of the mob. Seventhly, it was the genuine concern about misrepresenting the Buddha’s teaching.

        There may have been a minority who is much more concerned about tarnishing the Sinhalese and Sinhala Buddhists than the reasons I cited above by hook or by crook. It is my opinion that this should be a very small minority and moreover, the ammuniton to shoot the Sinhalese, and Buddhists are supplied by the sinhal buddhists themselves.