03 May 2019
Have Buddhists lost faith in Governments – past and current?
Catholic [Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith says churches and Catholic schools will be closed throughout Sri Lanka 'until further notice'.]
The question that comes to one’s mind is ‘what did the then head of Catholic community do when Navaly Church in Northern Province was bombed in 1995? One who feels ownership in the community would feel the pain of even the most junior member as hers/his. The then government expressed ‘sorrow at the loss of lives’ – as if the victims were remote relatives in law.
The loss of trust leading to self-sufficiency by the junior is now being manifested. Nature/Truth had its own way of showing support:
The Associated Press report headed ‘Rural Catholic church defies Sri Lanka threats, holds Mass’ communicates the following message:
[The St Joseph’s church devotees demonstrated courage when they Catholics participate in Holy Mass at St. Joseph's church in Thannamunai, Sri Lanka, Tuesday, April 30, 2019. This small village in eastern Sri Lanka has held likely the first Mass since Catholic leaders closed all their churches for fear of more attacks after the Easter suicide bombings that killed over 250 people. (Credit: Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP.)]
When we experience deep pain and turn to our truth / true belief – we are supported by inner courage which to my mind is a form of Energy that we accumulate through our belief. The Thannamunai (in Batticaloa) devotees must have endured much without taking revenge – to have accumulated this courage or they must be isolated from Colombo. To my mind that is how Natural Justice balances the books.
In contrast – Buddhists seem to fear even though their temples were not attacked on Easter Sunday: Agence France-Presse reports under the heading: ‘Suicide bombers fuel fears among Sri Lanka's majority Buddhists’:
[…..Nilman Ekanayake, a 29-year-old Sri Lankan on holiday from his job as a manufacturing manager in Britain, said Wednesday he has never seen Gangaramaya so empty.
There are strong reports that despite the ‘Buddhism Foremost’ article in the Constitution, Buddhist governments colluded with Pakistan against Lord Buddha’s motherland.
Rakesh Krishnan – a New Zealand based defence and foreign affairs analyst presents the following picture through Business Today:
[…During the 1971 Bangladesh crisis, after India withdrew landing and overflight rights to Pakistan, Sri Lanka granted refuelling facilities to Pakistan International Airlines. In March-April 1971, as the Pakistan Army launched Operation Searchlight to crush the Bengali independence movement in East Pakistan, Pakistani civilian and military aircraft made 174 landings at the Katunayake international airport. While Sri Lanka denied these aircraft were ferrying soldiers or weapons, in reality they were purely military flights that transported thousands of heavily armed troops who killed three million Bengali citizens over the next eight months.
Ironically, as Pakistani military flights passed through Katunayake in April 1971, a contingent of Indian Army troops was guarding the airport during a communist insurgency that took 10,000 lives across Sri Lanka. Indian Navy warships were also deployed off Colombo to defend the port.
The bonhomie continued after the war. In December 1976, the Colombo Municipal Council named a public ground in the national capital as Jinnah Maidan.
War in the north
It was during the civil war involving the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) that the Pakistani military and its shadowy spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was able to develop close links with Sri Lanka's military. In May 2008, Lt. Gen Sarath Fonseka, the chief of the Sri Lanka Army visited Islamabad with a shopping list that included 22 tanks, hundreds of thousands of grenades and other weapons and ammunition. The deal was worth over $100 million. According to 'The News' of Pakistan, as part of the cooperation, PAF pilots participated in air strikes against LTTE bases in August 2008. Islamabad also positioned a group of Pakistan Army officers in Colombo to guide the Sri Lankan security forces in their operations………….
Madhura Seneviratne of Australia's government owned Special Broadcasting Service reveals Pakistan's motives: "Using Sri Lanka as a staging post, the ISI's primary and apparent objective is to encircle India from all sides. It wanted to use the island nation to access south India, both in terms of finding terror networks as well as for recruitment of cadres."
N. Manoharan of the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies explains why Sri Lanka has entered into a Faustian bargain with the jehadis in Pakistan: "Pakistan's activities in Sri Lanka have not been seen with suspicion by the security establishment of the island state. Sri Lanka-Pakistan relations have been good without any irritants. Sri Lanka is ever grateful to Pakistan for all the military support during the Eelam War. In addition, when Sri Lanka was hauled (up) by the international community for human rights excesses during that war, Islamabad rendered unstinted diplomatic support."
Clearly, despite the collapse of Sri Lanka's once vibrant economy due to the civil war, the Sinhala elites have learnt nothing. It was their Apartheid-like policies aimed at the Tamils that resulted in the rise of the LTTE. Now, their carte blanche to the ISI could spawn more Islamic terror groups like the National Thowheeth Jamaath which could send the country into another cycle of violence.]
Like different religions leading to One God - we would have our own reasoning as to why something happened. Insiders would feel and naturally comfort each other by sharing quietly. Leaders have the duty to escalate their picture to include the expectations of all their followers – towards which they would need to intellectually fill the gap between their true level of faith and the deeper faith needed to escalate the issue to the highest level. Right now, the picture that is evolving from Buddhist worshippers is lack of faith in themselves as Buddhists following Buddhist tenets – as required by article 9 of the Sri Lankan Constitution. Yet there is no move by politicians to express their feelings on the basis of article 9. Given that Lord Buddha was born in India, Buddhist monks have the duty to find out whether the Buddhist politicians blessed by them are shifting their loyalty to Pakistan - a Muslim country by damaging their relationship with India. Otherwise Buddhist monks have to declare that they are juniors of the politicians.
A true relationship is one that is based on love and/or common belief. Every Buddhist who asked Tamils to go back to India – the Common Motherland of Tamils and Buddhists - knowing fully well that Tamils have been more seriously hurt and damaged by the war than Sinhalese – contributed to this weakened relationship with minorities. Pauline Hanson did that here and now she is the loneliest politician crying for herself.
I learnt as an Accounting student that a system is only as strong as its weakest part. Accordingly I have devoted much of my resources to strengthen communities that produced militants and those who used without belief - the outcomes produced by militants for quick political outcomes. Outcomes based relationships are weak in structure and weak in natural energy that works the system. We need to find and trust someone of another religion and/or use no measure other than the one that both have knowledge of to mark each other right or wrong. Without either of these we would continue to separate from each other and now that the matter has been taken outside Sri Lankan borders – even Buddhists are no longer majority force.