26 January 2017
Global Identity & Australia Day
Today we celebrate Australia Day. To me Australia Day is about the Global Identity of this Land, which like my Motherland, Sri Lanka is surrounded by Sea. We walked along Coogee Beach – paying our respects to our Nation through the National flag and the Soldier and Life Saver on the beach. Then we proceeded to Bali Memorial on the other end of the Beach. There I prayed to Natural Forces to protect this Land from acts of Terrorism and Pleasure without Conscience (Gandhi) . This was a special prayer due also to the news report that the Government was also taking steps to ensure that the forces were ready to meet such a challenge. To my mind, we sacrificed lives to learn the connection between excessive enjoyment of pleasures and armed retaliation by those strongly driven by ego pleasures of authority. Every person who makes the connection is contributing to remembering and honoring those who died for us effectively to protect us from excesses and its other side – jungle retaliation. Immigration comes with this risk. The fact that we are largely a Multicultural society is confirmed and celebrated on Australia Day. Some would consider it an ‘invasion’ day – and we have to accept that. When we accept criticism, discipline from our elders – we connect to their strengths in return. Then we become naturally Unitary structure. As if in confirmation of this I was referred to the message by Noel Luther - founding member of the Sri Lanka Reconciliation Forum, Sydney:
Of particular interest to me was ‘Religion without sacrifice’ due to the Religion related problems in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is yet to celebrate true Democracy which by its very definition embraces Multiculturalism. As we walk together as Sri Lankans in name – those with stronger feelings for the Land called Sri Lanka ‘sense’ and know the needs of all those to whom that land is ‘home’ and all those who respect that land. Those who feel that the region and/or the globe is their ‘home’ are also co-owners of the Land called Sri Lanka.
Those who are not able to take the leadership of such deeper owners have the choice of ‘going parallel’ to such leaders – as two religions going parallel to each other. But to the extent we stay along the same pathway it is important that there is only One Mind structure that regulates us. If the lesser owner leads it would be due to ego pleasure and hence Terrorism to deny the leadership of rightful owners of their investment in that part of the Earth. When a Nation has the Secular system as well as Religious system as part of its Constitution one cannot travel along this One Mind Structure. In Sri Lanka’s case – even Buddhists would have difficulty being one minded in Governance.
As per Daily Mirror report ‘Recommendations in sub-committee reports pose threats to Buddhism’ Ven. Medagama Dhammananda Thera, the Lekhakadhikari (Chief Secretary) of the Asgiriya Chapter stated:
[Q: There is an argument that it is discriminatory of other religions to afford foremost status to Buddhism. How do you respond?
Ven. Medagama Dhammananda Thera : It is not so. We have not acted in a manner that harms the interests of other religions. The rights of other religions are guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution, and we recognise them. However, we have to bear one thing in mind. In almost all other countries, their respective religions have been assigned special positions. In Norway, majority Cabinet slots are constitutionally assigned for the followers of the Lutheran Church. As for the Malaysian Constitution, religious freedom is guaranteed for all, but Islam is given the pride of place with special safeguards. In England, royalty is always linked with the Church of England by convention. In the United States, even in currency notes, religious affiliation is mentioned. That is the world situation. Sri Lanka is and will be a country that protects Theravada Buddhism. We work for constitutional provisions to enable this task in the greater interest of generations to come. As Buddhists, we do not harm anyone. However, Sinhala Buddhists stood up whenever they felt threatened in their own land. Buddhist monks led such mass risings. ]
I do not know whether the above mentioned Nations have allocated foremost place for the stated religions in their Constitutions. If they have – then that dilutes their investment in Democracy and worse it leads to compartmentalization or mental discomfort / disorder. Wikipedia describes this problem as follows:
[Compartmentalization is an unconscious psychological defense mechanism used to avoid cognitive dissonance, or the mental discomfort and anxiety caused by a person's having conflicting values, cognitions, emotions, beliefs, etc. within themselves.
Compartmentalization allows these conflicting ideas to co-exist by inhibiting direct or explicit acknowledgement and interaction between separate compartmentalized self states.
In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time; performs an action that is contradictory to their beliefs, ideas, or values; or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas or values.
Leon Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance focuses on how humans strive for internal consistency. An individual who experiences inconsistency tends to become psychologically uncomfortable, and is motivated to try to reduce this dissonance, as well as actively avoid situations and information likely to increase it]
To therefore have Buddhism foremost as per Article 9 of the Sri Lankan Constitution and Equal status to all religions as per Article 14 as highlighted by the Buddhist Priest – means the Sri Lankan mind relying on the Constitution for Authority - carries the risk of Cognitive Dissonance and Mental Stress. That is the guarantee that this Constitution assures its followers. It does not guarantee internal consistency.
My actions against Australian authorities demonstrating ‘White Australia Foremost’ policy helped me release myself from this prison of Conflicting Values within the same mind. At the University of NSW – I was recruited to manage changeover to Democratic Financial Management systems. But when I delivered – the Operational areas demonstrated high value but Central Administrators were against it. Had I remained there with two ‘conflicting’ assessments – I would have been mentally stressed. To protect myself from such distress Natural Forces came in support through the Hindu system represented by Swami Sathya Sai Baba who founded including many other Institutions of Higher Learning – a University also. To me the Trident representing Hindu Trinity representing – Body, Mind & Soul – is also in the same form as the Greek letter psi Ψ. Lord Shiva within the altar of our Family temple in Northern Sri Lanka also resides in this form – Vairavar the Protector. The Psi-Theory of Psychology states this scientifically this as follows:
‘Psi-theory suggests hierarchical networks of nodes as a universal mode of representation for declarative, procedural and tacit knowledge.’ - Wikipedia
Tacit knowledge is developed through habits and / or past discoveries. Hinduism recognizes this as consciousness. When holy powder materialized on my picture of Swami Sai Baba – I felt that I was being helped by Natural Forces. As a person, Swami Sai Baba was virtually a stranger to me at that time. I did not recognize any ‘benefits’ including status due to Sai Baba. Hence to my mind, it was Tacit knowledge from within through my belief in God – especially Hindu forms of God. Making this connection helped me know that Divine powers were blessing me. The Higher minds are available to all genuine seekers – even though we may not physically recognize each other. Now I realize that I was led by this Higher Consolidated Mind - to ‘compartmentalization’ so I would seek deeper through One pathway to find my own internal consistency. Towards this I had to sacrifice earned benefits and forego earned opportunities within the Secular system. At one stage I said to a Western Academic that like Lord Buddha begged for basic food – I was begging for basic jobs – so the employment was ‘voluntary’ on both sides.
My recommendation to Sri Lankans facing this Double Truth challenge is to renounce one system or to separate the times and areas of practice of the two conflicting systems. Buddha who renounced his throne cannot live in the same mind that takes the place of Royalty.
The above mentioned highlight of Norway (In Norway, majority Cabinet slots are constitutionally assigned for the followers of the Lutheran Church ) which was closely connected to management of the war in Sri Lanka is of significance in this religious context. LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran (VP) was born a Hindu. But he was born also in an area dominated by Fisher-folk – whose relatives in Jaffna town practiced Christianity. Norway established through youth collaboration Cey-Nor (Ceylon Norwegian) Development Project in Karainagar – in Northern Sri Lanka. Mr. Eric Solheim – the Norwegian Minister involved in development of Peace in Sri Lanka – also has a Catholic background. This could have persuaded the LTTE to agree to Ceasefire due to Norwegian involvement strongly influenced by this Common pathway. But after LTTE’s internal split –LTTE was driven less by ‘wins’ and more by their natural mind orders. Mental stress and disorder was high amongst the women cadre I met and interacted with in 2003. Having initially compartmentalized themselves as ‘armed freedom fighters’ – the LTTE without the ‘wins’ to ‘show’, deteriorated internally due to conflicting values – one natural largely through religious beliefs and structures and the other through the Doctrine of Freedom through exclusive possession.
The parallel of this is likely to be the case also with Buddhist Armed Forces carrying the Buddhist religious value of Renunciation/Sacrifice which is in Conflict with the Secular value of winning by killing and ‘possessing’. The two cannot be ‘reconciled’ to become one. The remedy is to separate Religion from the Secular system or removal of Article 14 and confirmation that Sri Lanka is Buddhist country and is therefore not Democratic, and therefore renounce the sharing of global resources on the claim that we are a democracy.
Sri Lankans who seek to go global – need to compartmentalize themselves by staying away from the Politically driven Government – as I did here in Australia. Distance lends enchantment. Tamils have been supported by Natural Forces to ‘compartmentalize’ themselves in Politics – as the Opposition Leadership. Members of majority race opposing the Government – for example the so called Joint Opposition led by the former President – is a junior relative who is trying to ‘takeover’ the official government. One may therefore ask as to who the Rebel/Terrorist is as of now? The Official Opposition has to have the official position and when someone illegally occupies the Leading Opposition position – they create their own de facto regime. Attachment to wins or losses keeps us grounded and prevents global sharing.