24 November 2020
CLERGY & POLITICS
I was delighted to receive an email from a member of the Tamil Diaspora
regarding spirituality as experienced by Sai devotee Gautam Sachdeva. I felt
that my work in writing the article ‘HOLISTIC DEVELOPMENT’ on the birth anniversary of Sri Sathya Sai Baba has been blessed. I
noticed that I was yet to forward my mail to that particular group. I sent it
after receiving the above mail this morning.
Later I came across the Daily Mirror article headed ‘Is section of Sangha
trying to subjugate President?’ by K.K.S. Perera who has shown respect for my
work. Mr Perera’s article was published
yesterday. I found some common values even though Mr Perera is a Buddhist and I
am a Hindu. This response of mine, shares my experience based interpretations
as a Sri Lankan.
[Verse 9 in
the Yamakavagga of Dhammapada, Anikkasàvayo vattha paridahessati…., The pure
are worthy of the yellow robe but not the impure. Whoever, unstainless, without
self-control and truthfulness, should don the yellow robe, is not worthy of it.
He who is purged of all stain, is well-established in morals and endowed with
self-control and truthfulness, is indeed worthy of the yellow robe.”-Buddha ]
My search took
me to the layperson’s story – reported as having been related by Buddha about
Devadatta who wore clothes out of cloth donated towards alms-giving costs – the
parallel of which did happen in Sri Lanka during the 2015 Presidential
Elections Ref: Lalith Weeratunga and Anusha Palpita found
guilty in Sil Cloth distribution case). The origin of old legend about the
negative karma of Buddhist Clergy is reported as follows:
was an elephant hunter in one of his previous existences. At that time, in a
certain forest, there lived a large number of elephants. One day, the hunter
noticed that these elephants knelt down to the paccekabuddhas* on seeing them. Having observed that, the hunter
stole an upper part of a yellow robe and covered his body and hand with it.
Then, holding a spear in his hand, he waited for the elephants on their usual
route. The elephants came, and taking him for a paccekabuddha fell down on their knees to pay
obeisance. They easily fell prey to the hunter. Thus, one by one, he killed the
last elephant in the row each day for many days.
The Bodhisatta (the
Buddha-to-be) was then the leader of the herd. Noticing the dwindling number of
his followers he decided to investigate and followed his herd at the end of the
line. He was alert, and was therefore able to evade the spear. He caught hold
of the hunter in his trunk and was about to dash him against the ground, when
he saw the yellow robe. Seeing the yellow robe, he desisted and spared the life
of the hunter.
The hunter was rebuked for trying to kill under
cover of the yellow robe and for commuting such an act of depravity. The hunter
clearly did not deserve to put on the yellow robe.]
current Sri Lanka, Buddha Sasana is the yellow robe. Many examples of hunters
pretending to be wearing Buddha Sasana have been exposed in Sri Lanka. Mr
Perera starts with Mapitigama Buddharakkitha, about
whom Wikipedia states as follows:
Buddharakkitha (1921−1967) was the chief conspirator of the assassination of
fourth Prime Minister of Ceylon (later Sri Lanka), S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike. He served
as the chief incumbent (chief priest) of the Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara, one of the most
sacred Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka from
1947 to 1959…..
various notorious acts only surfaced after he was convicted. He was described
as a rich businessman who was involved in various high profile businesses.
Buddharakkitha routinely consumed whisky, which was an offense for a buddhist monk. He allegedly had a sexual relationship with Vimala Wijewardene MP, Minister of Health and the only woman member of the
Bandaranaike's Cabinet in 1959. Wimala Wijewardene was the sister-in-law of D. R. Wijewardena and the widow of Don Charles Wijewardene, author of The Revolt in the Temple(1953).She was also a grand-aunt of Ranil Wickremasinghe, former prime minister of Sri Lanka.]
Perera’s connection goes as follows:
Buddharakkitha, always claimed that without him SWRD wouldn’t have come to
power. The head priest of historic Kelaniya temple where the Buddha visited 25
centuries ago and according to folklore the place where he enjoyed the
refreshing water of the Kelani River., [and remember, “a Maha Naga Rajah”
carrying a casket of ‘sacred relics’ appeared on the eve of Presidential
Election a year ago?] who financed Bandaranaike’s election campaign in 1956,
hated Bandaranaike for refusing to grant illegal favours for his shipping
company deals and business ventures in large scale import of provisions devoid
of tender procedures. ]
Sri Lankans know that Buddhist clergy and the Sri Lankan government are bound
through their umbilical cord connections to the Buddhist institution. As is the
way of Nature, when they operate at the primary level, they produce their own
opposites. Whether they are internal opposition that maintains Sri Lankan
sovereignty or enemies open to external influence is determined not by them but
by that opposition, though the strength of their belief.
the extent, Buddhist clergy influenced political leaders through their status –
they naturally developed opposition to Hindu clergy. To the extent that was the
Hindu clergy / Brahmins in India, they had the responsibility to use regional
structures and not local. By using local structures over which they had ‘control’
they pushed Tamils who opposed through belief, towards India and Muslims
towards Middle East. This is also the risk carried by those leaders who are
Dual Citizens using local powers.
Perera requests as follows:
[There is a
section of Sangha with racist leanings, who think, it’s they who put Rajapaksas
on the pedestal, hence they only should call the tune. Rather than endeavouring
to have control over the head of state, as a good Buddhist, I would
respectfully request for the direct intervention of most venerable Mahanayake
Theras as a matter of priority in issuing strict instruction to all chief
Nayake Theras on the importance of inculcating Vinaya rules among their junior
and senior members and refrain from political affiliations, because even good
Buddhists dare challenge Sangha in an obvious incident of violation of the disciplinary
rules. Will the president have the courage to discipline Buddhist monks?]
The Lankan President trying to discipline Buddhist monks is the parallel of Donald Trump
trying to discipline the American Armed Forces. They depend on the achievements
of these respective bodies – which carry their own excesses.
Neither the President nor the Buddhist clergy is
enlightened. They need each other especially because they have chosen to remain
‘domestic’. To the extent they are true to each other, at least in private –
their energies would merge and protect those who are true Buddhists and/or v.v.
As a true Buddhist – Mr Perera is doing just that. Universal Buddhist Energy
will do the rest.
If they publicly ‘show’ opposition, they would invite rebels
to show their own powers. Until old excesses are negated – the risk of karma
would remain strong. If current efforts are strong – karma will remain passive.