Response to a Sinhala Buddhist educated in Australia also and upholding ‘Buddhism Foremost’
Subject: Re: Sri Lankan Constitution or Buddhist Constitution?
Subject: Re: Sri Lankan Constitution or Buddhist Constitution?
Eranda Ginige (EG): Where in Article 9 does it say that Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country? Please show me.
Gajalakshmi Paramaasivam (GP): [The Republic of Sri Lanka shall give to Buddhism the foremost place and accordingly it shall be the duty of the State to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana, while assuring to all religions the rights granted by Articles 10 and 14(1)(e).]
A constitution is not a collection of outcomes for me to show and prove. If you raise it and read it at policy level – this does not apply to non-Buddhists.
That is how I read it. If you read it differently – I respect and accept that where you are my senior – I will feel subdued. Hence I would expect that to be the experience of those who consider me to be their leader. My contributions are for them to know when to separate and not become juniors without belief. The risk is that once such juniors are ‘finished’ with senior – they would form their own ‘projects’ and expect followers from their communities. This is a reason for LTTE as well as Muslim radicals. The Constitution as is – is for Politicians and policy contributors influence politicians as per their interpretations and practice of the underlying principles
Eranda Ginige (EG): Dear Gajalakshmi, you can't show what does not exist.
Gajalakshmi Paramaasivam (GP): No. You cannot show philosophy but it exists. You cannot show God but I believe God exists
EG: Nowhere in the Constitution of the Republic of Sri Lanka it says that Sri Lanka is a Buddhist State.
GP : Since the Constitution is the formation through which political battles are fought and since the politicians made the Constitution - we learn about the politician's mind structure through the Constitution and also how a politician interprets the words. The current president has stated many times words to the effect that Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country. If you do not identify with it – then I accept that you oppose this leading politician.
EG: In fact it's quite ridiculous to call an an inanimate object "Buddhist".
GP : Sri Lanka - the land may be inanimate to you. To me it is full of Energy. It is Energy. Here in Jaffna - I feel that I am in my mother's lap. When I am served by North Gate by Jetwing staff - I feel that my mother is taking care of me. I believe I feel so because I completed my relationship with my mother positively. I have just completed by book 'Jaffna is my Muthusum' / Heritage and not dowry. I feel more strongly the sense of belonging in Jaffna relative to previous times. I feel complete. If I recognized Jaffna as a dry land - I would not feel this. This time I came to say 'thank you to Nallur Murugan through Whose form I Believe. Jaffna is Murugan to me. Likewise Mother Mary Who has never failed me. So, Jaffna is me and I am not inanimate.
EG:Certain ignorant Buddhists, Hindus, Catholics, Christians, Muslims and ne. on-religious people believe that Sri Lanka is a Buddhist state. And as a result they behave in such ignorant belief. World will always have ignorant people.
GP :One does not need to be clever to believe. Belief makes one wise. If I say I am Jaffna or Jaffna is me - what is wrong with a Buddhist saying that s/he is Sri Lanka because he is Buddhist by belief? In fact - the hidden truth in the Constitution is that majority Sri Lankans are driven by belief or hearsay - and not intellectual cleverness through external knowledge. To win leadership position in politics - one needs to be a Buddhist - says the Constitution to me. Is that not the reality with majority Sri Lankans by belief? That is the simple truth. But if one gives truth express form at the primary level, a ceiling is placed on our intellectual growth. Where there are others who believe in Democracy foremost – those who have already expressed their belief in Buddhist form as part of the law – block themselves from accessing the Democratic minds. This is not fair to those who want to go global.
EG:For the rest of my reply, I'm going to use "Bauddha" instead of Buddhism/ist because ism/ist gives an unnecessary negative connotation to its meaning.
1. Article 9 gives foremost place to "Bauddha Agama, but NOT "Bauddha people" Which is why Article 9 itself is subject to Article 10 & 14 which enforces equal freedom and rights to ALL citizens to adopt and practice any religious belief as they wish. Therefore Bauddha people have equal privileges as any other citizen of the Republic.
GP :Articles 10 & 14 are about multiculturalism in global context. As per article 9 Buddhist leaders need to first facilitate non-Buddhists to practice their own beliefs. That is affirmative action. But one who has already limited her/himself to Buddhist interpretation – would have difficulty in facilitating Equal status which seems contradictory to ‘foremost’ status.
EG: 1. Article 9 does NOT give foremost place to Bauddha Agama against (or compared) to other religions. You can't compare and rank religions because as much as they share some common aspects, they have some fundamental differences. For example the theistic beliefs of Judaeo-Christian religions and non-theistic beliefs of Bauddha Dharma are fundamentally different.
GP :Foremost means relatively first. That is my interpretation.
EG: 2. Thus, giving "foremost" place here is about priority relevant to all matters of governance. What it means is that when legislating and executing in the affairs of the Republic, the state shall consider their impact on Bauddha Agama (NOT Bauddha people) as the first priority. Which is why Article 9 further explains that "accordingly" it shall be the duty of the State to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana.
GP :In other words you are stating that all members of the Government must be well versed in Buddha Agama? How does one know the impact if one does not know the Agama? Do the Christian, Muslim and Hindu members of the Government have to have knowledge of Buddha Agama for this purpose?- so they can construct their work according to the mindset of the Buddhist who practices Buddha Agama?
EG: Now the question is WHY should the state consider Bauddha Agama foremost to protect and foster Bauddha Sasana.
Sasana is a word used mainly in Bauddha Dharma and in some parts of Shaivism. Agama and Sasana are sometimes used interchangeably as well. Anyhow, Sasana is the knowledge base (Dharma) and the system of preserving that knowledge base. It includes the teachings of Gautama Buddha (Dharma) and the traditions and methods of carrying forward those teachings, as well as methods of practicing those teachings. Agama can mean the same or it could mean the teachings and the belief system.
GP :The way Lord Buddha structured his teachings was different to the way Lord Krishna structured His. It is wrong of you to use Hinduism to explain Buddhism. Lord Krishna for example was married. Lord Buddha renounced marriage and undertook Saniyasam (life of a hermit) . How can they be interchanged? Lord Thirupathi and Lord Muruga are personified with two Consorts. How can a Buddhist identify with that? Lankan Buddhist politicians have confirmed in practice that when it comes to their personal life – Buddhism is not enough for them. They run to Hindu temples. To me it looks as if Buddha in renunciation seem to not answer their prayers. So then they run to Hindu pathways which show how to live in Samsara/Worldly Affairs – as Karma Yogis. Murugan is personified as both – in Samsara as well as one who renounced Samsara (Palani Murugan)
EG: Bauddha Sasana has been attacked by various forces throughout the history with the intention of destroying it. It was practically destroyed in the very land where Gautama Buddha was born! However it was protected in this land through state sponsorship by the kings and through great sacrifices of Bauddha Bhikkhus (monks). In fact it was one of the important agreements in the Kandiyan treaty which was signed between the Kandiyan aristocrats and the British empire in 1815. As a result, the humanity today have this great philosophy, the Dharma and methods such as Bauddha teachings of meditation etc.
GP :Hindu places of worship were also attacked by Colonial rulers. But no one can damage the inner faith of a believer. The real sasana for each believer is her/his own faith to which a religion helps give form. Kandyan rulers looked after themselves but did not care about Hindus and Muslims.
As per my discovery, when one departs those who value them inherit their goodness. Those who are disrespectful of them but enjoy the fruits of their work inherit their negatives. This is obvious in the case of Sinhalese Buddhists who even at current times are disrespectful of Western values and laws of Westerners implemented during Colonial rule. Hence they inherited the negatives including Divide & Rule ways. This to my mind is confirmed by Article 9. I respect Buddha and from time to time pay my respects to him – especially when I am amongst Buddhists. This was very strong during the height of war when I was searched by junior officers. It was so THEY did not make mistakes as per Dharma/Righteousness. Hence through Buddha I took over their mind and told them what to do – mind to mind. I needed Buddha’s blessings to know the form they would understand. Beyond that I do not have knowledge of Buddha Sasana. But as a Hindu I am a great governor of Sri Lanka. But if a Hindu leader/group were to claim that s/he/they gave humanity – Hinduism I would instantaneously reject it and consider her/him/them traitors. They are traitors to the original Mother because they are want to show that they groomed themselves without a mother. Shame on you for stealing Lord Buddha’s status and India’s glory. Since Lord Buddha was born in India and since Lord Buddha attained Nirvana in India – India gave Buddhism to humanity.
EG:So the answer to WHY, is because we as the people who inherited this great Dharma/Agama/Sasana thus has the duty to protect it and foster it so thhe future generations will also have access to it. Because it was attempted to destroy Bauddha Agama before we should expect that there will be such attempts now and in the future as well.
GP :If you inherited Buddha Agama – then Indians are your elders. If you disrespect them – then you bring upon yourself Indian curse.
EG:Having said all of this, I do believe that Bauddha Agama/Dharma/Sasana is also being destroyed by the Buddhist extremists and certain rogue monks, which should be controlled. Unfortunately it looks like some of those groups are actually being sponsored by the Government agents itself.
GP :That is because an inheritance when it is made a ‘benefit’ invokes exponentially the ‘costs’ that went into making it an inheritance. That is the law of Nature – as confirmed by Sir Isaac Newton through his third law. The costs for Buddha included Royal living and enjoyment of family life. Those who make Buddhism a current benefit – would be cursed as Royals and as heads of family. Costs when they are of exponential value are known as curse. This is why the rulers in Samsara are not able to discipline Buddhist monks. They fear them. That fear is the form in which the curse has happened. We need to identify with this being the root cause of Easter Bombings.
Place yourself in Zahran’s shoes. In Sri Lanka he as part of the Muslim clergy - could not achieve the high status of a Buddhist monk. In Australia, where we are yet to be cured of Racial Discrimination and at the average citizen’s level – think we are under threat from strong Muslim country Indonesia. Zahran, as a student would not have enjoyed the same status as a White or more specifically a Christian Australian. When the mind is disappointed – it drops to low levels – and finds comfort in ‘freedom’ from rules and regulations. Such minds merge naturally with others all over the world including beyond time barriers in the place that is ‘home’ to that person. Those who have already expressed form to such ‘freedom’ become their seniors. This was IS for Zaharan – even though it is highly likely that IS had no knowledge of him until the Easter bombings. I know this to be the case with many LTTE militants to whom Prabhakran was National hero but about whom Prabhakran did not have any knowledge. Prabhakran personified how one could become hero to oneself. It is as I have stated above “The real sasana for each believer is her/his own faith to which a religion helps give form.” Prabhakran / IS helped the likes of Zaharan give form to their ‘freedom’ from others’ rule. Their moral/Dharmic right existed to the extent they invested in structured form including through religion. To the extent leaders failed in their duty to satisfy the expectations - they become the target – even if they had no knowledge of the attacker. The targets differ as per the attacker’s personification of why s/he was disappointed. Zaharan’s became expansion of White Australians. I picked up this risk – when I learnt about the collaboration between Australian government and the Christian Tourism Minister. The American film ‘Colateral Beauty’ highlights this value. Each person who genuinely suffers deep pain finds highest level of bliss of exponential value. That is a guarantee from Universal Power. I leant this lesson through my pain at the University of NSW which was not the sole body that caused me the pain. They were the last straw that rooted me in that pain. But in turn – my work now sits in Australian National Library. I did not consciously do anything for it to get there. To-date I have not gained economically or in terms of status for that. But I feel blissful that I have the blessings of Dharma – the system of Truth. No true pain is without its Natural compensation. The deeper the pain the more exponential the return. The reason for exponential value is that the pain happens because we feel part of a group / world. When someone dies despite our genuine investment in them – as in the case of war victims and the Easter bombing victims – especially those in the church – the pain is unbearable. But it is those of us who invested deeply in those relationships / People – who would invoke as family - many others who are likewise suffering. This group really becomes protective power of all those who are bound to them by common values and experiences. Suicide bombers who believe that many others would benefit from their deaths – cannot be judged without identifying with the negligence in the system that led them to abandon rules that did not work for them. Those are also Acts of god – those beyond our conscious control. It is for this reason that a mentally ill person is not punished for criminal acts.
EG:Bauddha Agama is NOT the sole property of Sinhala people. It's a universal knowledge base and a way of living which is open to all citizens of the Republic and to all humans of the world. And unlike some other religions it does NOT force anybody into it. It's an open space where anybody is free to study, practice, adopt or just leave. Thus Bauddha Agama has no negative impact on any other religion or the individual freedom of practicing any religion.
GP :To my mind, you contradict yourself. The curse is on you too? Eventually it leads to mental instability.
EG:Finally, when you objectively look at the written history and its archaeological evidence you have to accept that the civilization of this land has been greatly developed by the Bauddha Sasana. A reasonable person would respect and appreciate it's continued value in today's Republic.
GP :No Eranda. My Sri Lanka was developed by me. I do not know Buddha Sasana. My Sri Lanka is great because I made it so for myself and for all those who are my heirs.
That Sri Lanka has already merged the individual with the common. My question is if you are living in Australia and you have not opposed unjust discrimination in Australia – is it because you are also radical? A radical for benefits – becomes one for its costs or produces one in shared space.